The outcome of the tender for 22 attack helicopters for the Indian military has been revealed and the Russian Mi-28 N Night Hunter has lost out to the American AH-64D Apache helicopter. While the details of this outcome are yet to be revealed, it has been ascertained the Russian Mi-28 N did not meet several requirements posed by India in the tender. The attack helicopter acquisition would strengthen India's homeland defence significantly and deter regional threat.
Indian Defence Ministry will be handing out theover $ 600 million contract to the American Apache AH-64 D made by Boeing for the delivery of 22 attack helicopters. According to sources, an optional delivery of additional 22 helicopters is also on the anvil. American AH-64D Apache is one of the world's most powerful combat helicopter and it would add more teeth to India’s military might.
According to sources, the Boeing Apache AH-64 D was placed above the Russian Mi-28 N in its staff evaluation report submitted to the Indian Ministry of Defence. Even the Indian Air Force (IAF) is said to have marked the Apache AH-64 D consistently over the Russian Mi-28 N contender in trials held mid-2010 at the desert and mountain air bases in India, according to sources. The Apache-AH 64 D did have an upper hand since it was a matured and battle-proven heavy weight gunship. The Apache AH-64 D can fulfill some specific sniping purposes in air to ground warfare as well.
Earlier this year, a notice issued by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) estimated that a direct commercial sale of 22 AH-64Ds, plus weapons, sensors, spares and training would cost about $1.4 billion. This would include 50 General Electric T700-701D engines, over 1,350 Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, 245 Raytheon Stinger missiles, 12 Lockheed/Northrop Grumman APG-78 fire control radars and 23 Lockheed modernised target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensors.
As for Russia, it need not lose heart as it is still taking part in two other Indian helicopter tenders, namely the 12 heavy transport helicopters and 197 light general-purpose helicopters. The first tender includes the Russian Mi-26T2 and the American CH-47F Chinook helicopters, while the second involves the Russian Ka-226T and the AS550 Fennec helicopter developed by Eurocopter. Meanwhile, Russia continues the deliveries of Mi-17-B5 transport helicopters to India under a 2008 contract for the supply of 80 helicopters worth $1.4 billion.
The Indian Defence Ministry plans to buy several new helicopters and a more tenders are on its way. One of the upcoming major tender is for the delivery of multipurpose helicopters for the Indian Navy. According to estimates, India will assign some 700 new helicopters to the armed forces in the coming decade.