US defense supplier Boeing has won the deal to supply 15 heavy-lift helicopters to the Indian Air Force defeating Russia’s Mi-26T2 in the tender expected to be worth around one billion dollars.
The CH-47F Chinook has emerged as the lowest bidder in the tender (which started last September). Although the Russian Mi-26T2 was highly competitive in the trial process, passing just as the Chinook, according to the Times of India, the Chinook won after calculating for the cost of operating the choppers over a span of 30 years. (For example, the Mi-26T requires 100 man-hours of maintenance per flying hour, as opposed to the 40 man-hours figure for the CH-47F)
According to defense officials, the IAF will use these helicopters in the northern and northeastern states to replace the existing fleet of Mi-26 choppers acquired by India in the Soviet era.
Perhaps in a last attempt to sway the process, Rosoboronexport put out a press release on 08OCT12 congratulating the IAF on its 80th anniversary while also noting that Russian Mi-26s flew many transport missions in Afghanistan to evacuate downed or failed Chinook helicopters. Russian pilots were commended by the US President for one such mission performed in 2009, according to the release.