Defence Ministry approves procurement of 111 helicopters worth Rs 21,738 crore for Navy

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New Delhi : The Defence Ministry has cleared procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters worth Rs 21,738 crore for the Indian Navy, making it the first proposal under the strategic partnership model to get approval. 

The model is aimed at enhancing military capabilities by indigenously allowing Indian manufacturers to partner with foreign firms.

The government will now start the process to identify a foreign helicopter maker and an Indian defence firm for a joint venture for the project.

The procurement of the helicopters will be the first major acquisition project under the new model.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Monday evening accorded acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the procurement, a report said. 

As part of the proposal, 16 naval utility helicopters (NUHs) will be procured in a “fly away” state from the selected foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the remaining 95 will be made by the Indian strategic partner in India, it said. 

Firms, including Bell, Sikorsky and Airbus, are likely contenders for this project and will have to respond to the RFI with the information on the capabilities they have to manufacture these helicopters. 

The RFI states that the helicopters should be able to perform roles including search and rescue, medical evacuation, anti-piracy, disaster relief and surveillance. This will involve ferrying supplies and troops to warships. The helicopters will also be submarine hunters as the RFI seeks information on what kind of torpedoes will be compatible with NUH.