India to buy 197 helicopters for Army from EADS

India to buy 197 helicopters for Army from EADS


Paris: India will soon sign a deal with Europe’s aerospace and defence major EADS for purchase of 197 ‘Fennec´ helicopters for use of Army, particularly in high altitude regions like Siachen.

An agreement for supply of the AS 550 Fennec helicopters for Indian Navy may follow as the latter has expressed interest in acquiring these, officials of the company said here.

“We are in final phase of having a deal to supply 197 (Fennec) light helicopters for the Indian Army. The contract is expected to be signed by the end of the year," EADS Senior Vice President for South Asia, Allain Letanoux, told a group of Indian journalists here.

The deal will involve transfer of technology, he said. Though Letanoux did not specify the monetary volume of the contract, the deal is believed to be worth $600 million.

The understanding between the two sides specifies that 67 helicopters manufactured in France will be purchased outright while the rest will be built jointly with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The Fennec helicopter holds a record in flying in mountainous regions and was the only of its kind to successfully land on top of Mount Everest recently, EADS officials say.