• Ahead of the upcoming 2+2 talks with the US, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) that met on Saturday, cleared the procurement of 24 Multi-Role Helicopters for the Navy. In all, the DAC gave approvals for procurement deals worth approximately ₹46,000 crores.
• In another decision, the DAC gave the formal approval for procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters at a cost of over ₹ 21,000 crores.
• This is the first project under the MoD’s prestigious Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing a significant fillip to the Government’s Make in India programme.
• SP model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian strategic Partner under technology transfer from a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
• The validity of the DAC decision is 18 months, within the Navy has to process the deal and the selected OEM will then tie up with a sustainable Indian partner to manufacture the helicopters in India.
• This will be the pilot project under the SP model and pave the way for clarity on the other three projects in the pipeline, a defence official observed.
Government to Government deal
• The 24 MRH will be pronounced from the US under a Government to Government deal. The Navy has earlier selected the MH-60 MRH but the deal fell through due to price issues. The deal is estimated to cost about $1.8 billion.
• An announcement on the purchase of the MRH is expected during the 2+2 talks scheduled to be held on September 6.
• In another deal for the Army, the DAC granted approval for procurement of 150 indigenously developed 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS) at an approximate cost of ₹ 3,364.78 crores.
• These guns have been indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization and will be manufactured by production agencies, as nominated by DRDO.
• The DAC also cleared the procurement of 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile System for the Navy which will boost the self-defence capability of ships against Anti-Ship Missiles. Of these, 10 systems will be indigenously developed.