DAC clears procurement of 111 utility helicopters for Navy

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New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) met on Saturday and approved procurement proposals worth about Rs 46,000 crore, including that of 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs 21,000 crore under the Strategic Partnership (SP) Model.

The meeting was chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

"The DAC, in a landmark decision today, approved procurement of 111 Utility Helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs 21,000 crore. This is the first project under the MoD's prestigious Strategic Partnership model that aims at providing significant fillip to the government's ‘Make in India' programme," an official release said. 

The SP model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian Strategic Partner, who will collaborate with foreign original equipment manufacturer, acquire niche technologies and set up production facilities in the country.

The SP model has a long-term vision of promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment thus enhancing self-sufficiency and establishing an industrial and research and development (R&D) ecosystem, capable of meeting the future requirements of the armed forces, the release said. 

"The contract when finalised would result in a vibrant and wide-spread defence industrial eco-system in the Indian aviation sector with the private industry and MSMEs as major stakeholders," it said. 

Other proposals cleared by the DAC include procurement of 150 indigenously designed and developed 155 mm advanced towed artillery gun systems for the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs 3,364.78 crores.

These guns have been indigenously designed and developed by DRDO and will be manufactured by production agencies nominated by DRDO. They are likely to be the mainstay of artillery in the near future. 

The DAC also approved procurement of anti-submarine capable 24 Multi Role Helicopters (MRH), which are an integral part of the frontline warships like aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes. 

"Availability of MRH with the Navy would plug the existing capability gap," the release said. 

Procurement of 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile Systems was also cleared by the DAC. Of these, 10 systems will be indigenously developed. 

These systems will boost the self-defence capability of ships against anti-ship missiles.

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