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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is reigniting its quest for a new fleet of helicopters to transport the country’s VVIPs, including the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister. This move comes nearly a decade after the controversial AgustaWestland deal collapsed due to corruption allegations.

The IAF headquarters is currently finalizing the Air Staff Quality Requirements (ASQR) document, which outlines the essential characteristics of the desired VVIP helicopter. This crucial document dictates factors like quality standards, technical specifications, budget constraints, and the level of competition expected from potential bidders.

Following the ASQR finalization, the IAF plans to issue a global Request for Information (RFI) to garner interest from international helicopter manufacturers. This RFI will provide a platform for interested companies to showcase their offerings and understand the IAF’s specific requirements.

The decision to revive the VVIP chopper procurement process comes after a decade-long limbo. Three AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters, delivered in 2012 as part of the initial procurement plan, remained grounded at the IAF’s Palam airbase in Delhi for a decade. These helicopters have now been returned to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) following the cancellation of the deal.

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