Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for Indian Navy at cost of over Rs 21,000 crore. DAC is Union Defence Ministry’s highest decision making body on capital procurement of Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).
The procurement of 111 utility helicopters will be first project under Defence Ministry’s prestigious Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing significant fillip to Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. Several aviation majors including Airbus (Eurpore), Kamov (Russia) and Bell (US) have offered their bids for this project in addition to state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Indian Navy will shortlist helicopter it wants after extensive evaluation process which will be followed by contract where most of these helicopters will need to be built in the country in conjunction with local partners. The contract when finalised will result in vibrant and wide-spread Defence industrial eco-system in Indian Aviation Sector with private industry and MSMEs as major stakeholders.
Strategic Partnership (SP) Model
It envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by Indian Strategic Partner, who will collaborate with foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacutures), acquire niche technologies and set up production facilities in country. The model has long-term vision of promoting India as manufacturing hub for defence equipment. It will help in enhancing self-sufficiency and establishing an industrial and R&D ecosystem, capable of meeting future requirements of Indian Armed Forces.