New Delhi: Under fire from all corners, the UPA government on Thursday released a factsheet on the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal. According to the factsheet, a global tender was floated in 2002 for helicopters. Only Eurocopter, France, was found suitable for acquisition.
On November 19, 2003, the then principal secretary Brajesh Mishra met the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The norms were changed in the meeting and the altitude was agreed to be dropped to 4,500 meters from 6,000 meters.
On December 22, 2003, Mishra wrote to the then Air Chief Marshall, expressing concern that the Special Protection Group (SPG) wasn't consulted. The IAF, the NSA, the SPG-PMO, and the Defence Ministry hold consultations between March 2005 and September 2006.
On September 27, 2006, the new norms are issued for purchase of 12 copters. Sikorsky (USA), AgustaWestland (Anglo-Italian company) and Rosoboronexport (Russia) respond to the tender.
While the Russian firm didn't give earnest money, the evaluation panel tested Sikorsky and AgustaWestland (AW). The evaluation report assessed AW-101 to be fully compliant with requirements.
On January 18, 2010, the Cabinet committee on Security cleared the purchase of AgustaWestland copters.