Free Press Journal

US firm offers VVIP choppers to India


New Delhi: After India scrapped a contract for procuring VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland, American firm Textron today said it is ready to offer its unique V-22 Osprey helicopter to India for ferrying its dignitaries.

“We are ready to offer to India the V-22 Osprey in the VIP configuration through the Foreign Military Sales route. It is a unique and competitive product,” Textron India President and Managing Director Inderjit Sial told PTI.

He was asked about the possibility of offering any chopper of Bell Helicopters, an arm of Textron, for meeting the VVIP chopper requirements of the IAF.

The government scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland, accusing it of breaching a pre-contract integrity pact and other contractual obligations in the Rs 3,600 crore contract.

India has so far received only three choppers from the Anglo-Italian firm and is considering the option of using Mi-17V5 choppers being procured from Russia for the purpose.

Sial said the V-22 Osprey has already been inducted into the American President’s fleet in VVIP configuration and is being used to ferry his entourage.

The V-22 is a unique tiltrotor aircraft designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

Meanwhile, in view of the ongoing CBI inquiry into the 197 choppers procurement case, Textron said it was ready to offer its Bell 407 light helicopters if India decides to buy them.

The tender is under the CBI lens after it was found that an Army Brigadier had sought a bribe allegedly from AgustaWestland for swinging the deal in its favour. A document in this regard was seized by Italian investigators while investigating the VVIP chopper scam after which a CBI probe was ordered.