European Aviation giant Airbus is in talks with the Indian Navy to lease out Panther helicopters for its warships as the force looks at bridging the capability gap it faces when it comes to the rotary wing, Rémi Maillard, president of Airbus India and the company’s managing director for South Asia, told ThePrint.
The development comes as the nearly $3 billion plan to procure 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) staggers on due to multiple reasons.
“We are ready to offer leasing options and this is an excellent opportunity to meet the short-term immediate operational requirements, especially in the Indian Ocean. We believe there is a capability gap in the Indian Ocean Region and we would be delighted to offer our helicopters to the Indian Navy,” Maillard told ThePrint in an interview at Aero India 2021.
The Narendra Modi government has allowed the armed forces to procure military equipment on lease under the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.
Airbus is also likely to lease out two A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) to the IAF.
Asked if leasing makes sense for an armed force, Maillard said it does, complementary to the procurement process. “The advantage of leasing is that you can quickly access the capability. Many countries are doing that. We provide leasing capabilities as well,” he added.
Asked about the numbers being talked about for leasing of the choppers, he said talks have not moved to that stage yet.
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