India has dropped Mil’s Mi-28N Night Hunter from its competition for 22 attack helicopters, leaving the Boeing AH-64 Apache as the only contender in the race.
Russian news service Ria Novosti, the Mi-28N did not meet Indian requirements. According to sources, the helicopter failed to meet 20 criteria, mostly regarding technical issues with integration of its sensors and combat systems.
“We decided not to choose the Mi-28 for technical reasons. Our experts believe that the Mi-28N did not meet the requirements of the tender on 20 positions, while the Apache showed better performance,” an Indian defence ministry source said on Tuesday.
“I would not say that the Mi-28H is inferior to the American competitor. It seems that the reason is different. The Indians have been concerned about the way Russia executes the obligations connected with repairs and servicing of the delivered hardware. We also delay the execution of previously concluded contracts,” Nikolai Novichkov, editor-in-chief of ARMS-TASS news agency told Pravda.
The Mi-28N’s exit from the competition is also a blow for MBDA Missile Systems and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which were competing to supply missiles for the attack helicopters. If the Apache is chosen, it will be armed with Hellfire Longbow missiles.
Russia was offering 22 helicopters for US$600 million, far less than Boeing’s offer for its AH-64D Apache Block IIIs.
India is also planning to buy 179 Light Combat Helicopters built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and armed with indigenously developed NAG anti-tank missiles.
Earlier in this year Russia’s MiG-35 fighter jet was not shortlisted for India’s massive medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) project that aims to find 126 new fighters for the Indian Air Force.
However, Russia is still involved in several Indian defence tenders, including a tender for 12 heavy lift helicopters and 197 light utility helicopters. Its Mi-26T2 is competing against Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook for the heavy lift contract and the Kamov Ka-226T is competing against Eurocopter’s AS550 Fennec for the light utility contract.
Russia is also developing a fifth generation combat aircraft with India, as well as a multirole transport.