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IAF to get 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland in four years

A file photo of AgustaWestland AW-101 VVIP helicopters.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland said it would be able to deliver the 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force within four years of signing the contract.

After remaining stuck for almost a year in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the Government had last week given a go ahead to the deal for procuring 12 AW-101 choppers for VVIPs like the President and the Prime Minister.

"We haven't signed the effective contract yet but after signing the contract, we would be able to deliver them in four years," Agusta Managing Director Graham Cole said here on Tuesday.

He said the company had not yet heard anything officially from the Indian government on the deal.

During the Defexpo press conference on Monday, the Defence Minister had said the deal to procure the choppers was cleared by the CCS after the Special Protection Group and the IAF advised the government to do so in view of the prevailing security scenario in the country.

The deal was stuck for almost a year after the Finance Ministry raised objections over the high price tag attached to the choppers.

The AW-101 will replace the fleet of Russian-origin Mi-8 and Mi-17 choppers flying with the Palam-based communication squadron of the IAF.

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