In order to add more teeth to India's naval front, the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday approved the procurement of 111 helicopters for the Indian Navy under the strategic partnership model at a cost of Rs 21,738 crore.
The announcement comes days after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman commissioned indigenously built anti-submarine warship INS Kiltan at Eastern Naval Command in Vishakhapatnam
The deal, which was cleared by Sitharaman at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), aims to boost India's defence system by allowing indigenous arms and ammunition manufacturing firms to partner up with foreign ones.
According to PTI, officials said that 16 helicopters will be procured at a flyaway condition, while the rest of the 95 aircraft will be manufactured in India.
The government will first identify a foreign helicopter maker and an Indian defence firm, who will then work together for the project.
The procurement of 111 helicopters will be the first major acquisition project under the strategic partnership model.
The new model finalised the broad contours of a much-awaited policy to boost the Indian private sector's role in producing high-tech defence equipment in India. It aims at building submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with global armament majors.
In May, the DAC had finalised the strategic partnership model, a much-awaited policy to boost the Indian private sector's role in producing high-tech defence equipment in India.
The model aims to create a robust defence manufacturing ecosystem in India by involving both the major Indian corporates as well as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. These sectors will then tie up with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to seek technology transfers not only to set up a domestic manufacturing infrastructure but also supply chains.
The defence ministry also cleared the procurement of nine sonar systems at a cost of Rs 450 crore that will help in detection of submarines.
These procurements will also be a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India initiative.