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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is gearing up to release a tender for the acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters, which will serve as the official transport for the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, and other top leaders of the country. This move comes after the cancellation of the 2013 AgustaWestland VVIP chopper contract in 2014, which resulted in the return of three AW101 VVIP helicopters. Over the past decade, Russian-origin Mi-17 V-5 helicopters have been used for VVIP transport.

United States-based helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky is poised to participate in the upcoming tender for VVIP helicopters. Previously, Sikorsky made an unsuccessful bid to supply its S-92 helicopters in a VVIP configuration to India and is eager to re-enter the competition once the tender is reissued.

The S-92 helicopter cabins have been manufactured in India through a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Hyderabad since 2013. While the cabins are produced in India, they are shipped to the United States for final assembly. The fully assembled helicopters are then delivered to customers worldwide.

The S-92 is a versatile aircraft that performs various roles worldwide, including search and rescue, medical evacuation, and transportation missions for VIPs, including Heads of State. It is also utilized by offshore oil and gas crews, utility companies, and airlines. Since its introduction in 2004, the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter fleet has grown to 200 aircraft, accumulating over 530,000 flight hours.

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