The Indian Air Force has issued a tender to acquire 22 combat and 15 heavy-lift helicopters from US, European and Russian manufacturers to replace its aging helicopter fleet.

A retender has been recently released after the Ministry of Defense cleared it. The request had been on hold due to recent elections in the country, Times of India reports.

The request for proposal for the 22 combat helicopters had been released earlier in May 2008 to Sikorsky, Boeing, Bell, Eurocopter, Russian Mil and Augusta Westland.

However, it was withdrawn since India felt it needed to select from a larger platter of defense suppliers.

IAF and army helicopters have to carry out relief operations during natural disasters which require heavy lift choppers that can carry under-slung trucks and artillery guns and jeeps within its cargo bay.

The existing helicopters are old and not suitable for such high-demand tasks.