The Defence Ministry on Nov 2 approved the procurement of arms and military equipment worth ₹ 7,965-crore under “Make In India”, including 12 light utility helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, according to an official statement. The procurement proposals were approved at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the ministry’s highest decision-making body on the matter.
Sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint that the nod for 12 choppers, six each for the Army and the Indian Air Force, looks small but it is under limited series production.
“The first LUH will be delivered in August 2022 after which the forces will use them and will give their feedback and place further orders,” a source explained.
Besides clearing the proposal to buy 12 helicopters, the DAC approved the procurement of Lynx U2 naval gunfire control system from Bharat Electronics Limited that will enhance the tracking and engagement capabilities of naval warships, the ministry’s statement said.
The DAC on Tuesday also approved “mid-life upgradation of Dornier aircraft” by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to increase the naval capacity of maritime reconnaissance and coastal surveillance, it mentioned.
“As a further impetus to ”Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India), a global procurement case of naval guns has been foreclosed with these guns” quantity added to the upgraded super rapid gun mount (SRGM) being manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL),” it noted.
All these proposals are under ”Make in India” with a focus on design, development and manufacturing in the country, according to the statement.
India is also looking at jointly building with Russia the Kamov-226T light helicopters in the country. The Kamovs are also expected to replace the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. However, the $1-billion programme, under which Russia will supply 60 helicopters in flyaway condition and the remaining 140 will be manufactured in India, is yet to kick off. The army, air force and navy together need around 500 light helicopters.