New Delhi: The Indian Air Force could soon be acquiring an American legend the Chinook military helicopter at a cost of $600 million. The controversy over the nuclear deal notwithstanding, India is now increasingly tilting towards the US for military equipment.
A Request for Information has been made to the US indicating an intention to buy 12 Chinook helicopters. The helicopter with its distinctive tandem rotors is a reliable troop carrier for American forces in theatres like Afghanistan.
The IAF is considering it for high-altitude operations up to 16,000 feet. India has also shown interest in the C-17 Globemaster, the US' second largest airlifter which is capable of hauling 82 tons of men and material in the air.
"We have received a request for information. The IAF and the Indian Navy are increasingly looking at western military equipment,” said Chris Chadwick Vice-President, Boeing.
Interestingly, Boeing is looking at co-producing parts of the Chinook in India to partially fulfil its 50 percent offset obligations it will be required to undertake if it wins an IAF order for 126 medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA).
The tender for this was issued last month. The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is one of the six aircraft in contention.
The company, which has already signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with companies like L&T, Wipro and Tata Power, as also the Indian Institute for Science, will be looking to source aircraft parts including hydraulics and machining.