Navy's Rs.22000 cr plan for 111 helicopters

The defence ministry has given initial approvals to the Rs.21,738 crore naval project for 111 armed light utility helicopters as well as a Rs.450 crore proposal for nine active towed array sonar systems for frontline warships.

The new Strategic Partnership policy is aimed at boosting the indigenous defence production sector, with Indian private sector companies producing cutting-edge weapon systems in collaboration with global armament majors through joint ventures and technology transfers.

The defence ministry-Navy combine will now issue the formal tender or RFP to original equipment manufacturers for the light helicopter project, under which the first 16 choppers will be imported, with the rest 95 being manufactured in India later. But it will take at least two years for the contract to be inked for the twin-engine helicopters, which the Navy needs to replace its ageing fleet of single-engine Chetak helicopters.

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