New Delhi, Aug 25: The defence ministry on Saturday approved proposal to procure 111 naval utility helicopters under the 'strategic partnership' model to replace the Navy's outdated fleet of French-designed Chetak choppers.
The go ahead for the project was given by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the ministry's highest decision making body on procurement.
The meeting of the DAC was chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The ministry cleared procurement proposals worth nearly Rs 46,000 crore which included the acquisition of the helicopters.
"The DAC approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs 21,000 crores," said a senior official.
The official said the DAC also granted approval to a few other procurement proposals amounting to approximately Rs 24,879 crore which included approval for acquisition of 150 indigenously designed and developed 155 mm advanced towed artillery gun systems for the Army at an approximate cost of Rs 3,364 crores.
As part of the NUH project, 16 choppers would be bought in a flyaway condition from a foreign military contractor, and the remaining 95 will be built in the country in partnership with an Indian firm. Even under the Make in India plan, the country's arms procurement rules allow for the direct purchase of weapons and systems from the foreign vendor in keeping with the 'strategic partnership' policy.
The navy uses such choppers for several purposes, including search and rescue operations, medical evacuation, communication duties, anti-piracy and anti-terrorism operations, humanitarian assistance, surveillance and targeting.