In the VVIP chopper deal, Defence Minister AK Antony had initially raised questions over IAF's plans to hold the field evaluation trials of the Anglo-Italian AW-101 and American Sikorsky S-92 choppers in their home bases and not in Indian conditions.
The Defence Procurement Board (DPB) had also asked the IAF to review its decision in this regard and test the two choppers in Indian conditions, Government sources said.
The Air Headquarters, however, told the Defence Ministry that the choppers were available for trials at the home bases of the vendors and bringing them to India would result in a delay of at least nine months in their procurement, they said.
It was only after the IAF put across the argument about the delay in procurement process, the Minister and the DPB gave a go-ahead for the trials to be conducted outside India, they said.
Antony and the Ministry seemed to be of the view that operational conditions in the UK and the US could not match those in India which includes hot deserts, humid plains and high altitude areas such as the Siachen Glacier and the Ladakh region, they said.
The trials of AgustaWestland helicopter was carried out in the UK while the Sikorsky chopper was tested in the US from 16 January 2008 to February 2008.
Soon after testing of the helicopters, a Field Evaluation Trial team submitted its report in April 2008 and recommended AW-101 helicopter of AgustaWestland for induction into IAF.
IAF officials confirmed that queries were raised by the Defence Minister and the DPB over the venue of trials but said such a step would have resulted in delays in the procurement of the choppers, which were required for the VVIPs.