Delhi: The Mi-17 helicopters that the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to use to ferry VVIPs were ironically eliminated from the race during the procurement process for 12 VVIP choppers in 2006.
The reason: The company did not agree to sign the integrity clause with the IAF.
“M/s Rosoboronexport (Russian company which manufactures Mi-17) did not submit the earnest money deposit and the Integrity Pact, along with their technical and commercial proposals.
It had been made clear to M/s Rosoboronexport in February 2007 that this was a global tender and hence, every contractual clause would be the same for all vendors. As no Integrity Pact and earnest money deposit were received from M/s Rosoboronexport, their techno-commercial offer was not accepted,” according to the ministry of defence.
An industry insider told dna that it is strange that the same chopper is being considered to do the same task of ferrying VVIPs. dna on Monday had reported that in the wake of the cancellation of the AgustaWestland chopper deal, the IAF planned to upgrade the Mi-17s and that the defence ministry has no immediate plans of looking for a replacement.
According to the minister of defence, in January 2006, after the Defence Acquisition Council cleared the procurement of 12 helicopters under ‘buy’ category with 30 per cent offsets, the request for proposal (RFP) was issued to six vendors on September 27, 2006. Three vendors, M/s Sikorsky, USA (S-92 helicopter), M/s AgustaWestland, UK, and M/s Rosoboronexport Russia (Mi-17) responded to the RFP.
An IAF official said the cancellation of the deal with AgustaWestland was a big setback as the proposal to replace the ageing fleet of VVIP choppers (Mi-8s) was taken 14 years ago. The three-decade-old Mi-8 helicopters used by the IAF will be phased out by next month.
The IAF ordered 80 Mi-17 V5 transport helicopters from Russia in 2008 for Rs7,700 crore which are expected to be delivered by the end of 2014. Subsequently, a follow-on clause was invoked to buy 59 more choppers for Rs5,500 crore.