ASW chopper deal stuck due to price escalation

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) A deal for buying multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy from US firm Sikorsky has not yet been finalised, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday, adding this was due to price escalation by the firm.

“Procurement proposal for the helicopters is being processed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure and the request of Sikorsky for price escalation was not found acceptable by the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC),” Parrikar said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

“The vendor has been informed accordingly,” he added.

India was to buy 16 Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk helicopters but following delays in inking the deal, the cost had increased from Rs. 17.60 billion ($275 million) sanctioned by the defence ministry in 2007 to over Rs. 50 billion.

Sources added the the defence ministry has now ordered fresh negotiations.

In December last year, the Indian Navy had selected the Sikorskys to fulfill its requirement of for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

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