November 28, 2012
Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport is denying reports that it has already lost Indian air force (IAF) competitions for heavy-lift transport helicopters and refueling aircraft.
A senior Indian defense ministry official indicated in October that Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook had emerged as the lowest bidder for India’s heavy-lift helicopter deal, besting an upgraded Russian Mi-26T2 after life cycle costs were calculated. At the same time, there also were reports that the Russian Il-78MK-90 aerial tanker aircraft had lost to the Airbus A330 MRTT.
“The results have not been announced yet and any early announcements mislead [the] general public and professional community both in Russia and India,” Rosoboronexport says in a statement. “The Mi-26T2 heavy-lift transport helicopter and Il-78MK-90 tanker are worthy of winning both tenders not only because they are unique military air systems fully meeting specifications of the Indian side, but also because they attract potential customers by [their] cost-effectiveness,” the company says.
Rosoboronexport says that Mi-26 type helicopters have been successfully operated for a long time in India, so the air force would not need to retrain experienced pilots or technicians. And the Il-78MK-90 refueler can operate from paved and unpaved runways, giving it access to more than 80% of the runways available in India, the company says.
Rosoboronexport is part of the Russian Technologies State Corporation, and is the sole state intermediary agency responsible for the import and export of Russian defense and dual-use products, technologies and services.
Chinook photo: U.S. Air Force