By Arup Roychoudhury
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (Reuters) - India has chosen Boeing Corp
as the preferred bidder to supply 15 heavy lift
helicopters for its Air Force, a Defence Ministry source said on
Monday, potentially the second major Indian contract this year
for the Seattle-based firm.
Boeing's Chinook twin rotor helicopters emerged as the
lowest bidder and will now hold exclusive negotiations with the
ministry, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of
"Depending on how things progress, the final announcement
will take three to six months," said the source, who did not
give details of the value of the deal.
In Indian defence deals, exclusive talks are not a guarantee
Earlier this year Boeing's Apache was chosen as the
preferred bidder for a deal to provide 22 heavy combat
helicopters to India. It was up against Russian Mi-28.
Sections of the media have reported the heavy lift
helicopter deal to be valued at $1 billion, and the combat
helicopter deal at $1.4 billion.
The Chinook's competitor in the Indian bid was the Russian
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant's Mi-26.
Boeing is also supplying P-8 maritime surveillance planes
and C-17 cargo aircraft to the world's largest arms importer.
India has been a big buyer of Soviet Union weaponry and
still relies on Russia for 60 percent of its arms purchases, but
has diversified its suppliers in recent years. Israel is now the
No. 2 seller, with countries like the United States and France
also increasing their presence.