December 05, 2012
Confirming early reports, India on Dec. 5 officially announced that Boeing’s Chinook CH-47F tandem-rotor helicopter has been chosen for the Indian air force (IAF), besting the Russian Mi-26.
“In the proposal initiated by the IAF for the procurement of 15 heavy-lift helicopters, Boeing with [the] Chinook helicopter has emerged as the L1 [i.e., lowest-bidding] vendor,” Defense Minister A.K. Antony says. “The cost of the contract would depend upon outcome of the contract negotiation with the L1 Vendor, which has not yet concluded.”
Antony said field evaluations found the Chinook to be compliant with all the stated Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs).
Aviation Week reported in October that the Chinook had emerged as the lowest bidder, beating an upgraded Russian Mi-26T2, after life cycle costs were calculated. The contract negotiation committee will finalize the Chinook deal once commercial negotiations with Boeing are completed.
Chinook and the Mi-26 were the only two proposals. The IAF already operates four Mi-26s.
As recently as last week, Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport was denying that it had lost the competition. At the same time, media reports emerged that the Russian Il-78MK-90 aerial tanker aircraft had lost to the Airbus A330 MRTT in another Indian competition.
Chinook photo: U.S. Air Force