India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared a proposal by the Indian Navy to procure 111 naval utility helicopters to replace its fleet of French Chetak choppers, according to local media reports.
The DAC was chaired by the Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman who took over the charge recently.
According to Defence Ministry officials, the DAC cleared an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the Indian Navy for procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters (NUH) worth around Rs. 21,738 crores (around $3.36 billion).
As part of the proposal, 16 helicopters will be procured in fly away condition from the selected foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the remaining 95 will be manufactured in India. The government will now identify a foreign helicopter manufacturer and an Indian defence company to form a joint venture in India for the project.
The Indian Navy is in dire need of helicopters as the majority of its 140 warships are operating without utility helicopters.
The DAC has also approved a Rs 450 crore (around 70 million) proposal to procure nine active towed array sonar systems for frontline warships. According to the officials, the sonar systems will be “fitted on modern naval vessels and will enhance their submarine detection capabilities”.