MoD clears Rs 22k cr equipment under Make In India scheme

MoD clears Rs 22k cr equipment under Make In India scheme
In a boost to India’s maritime operations, the Defence Ministry cleared projects worth Rs 22,000 crore to manufacture 111 naval utility helicopters and 9 active towed array sonars.

The equipment will be made under the Make In India scheme. The Defence Acquisition Council chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman Tuesday approved the “acceptance of necessity” for making the choppers compliant with the newly adopted strategic partnership model.

“While 16 of these helicopters will come from the foreign vendor in a fly-away condition, the remaining 95 will have to be manufactured in India by the Indian partner,” a Defence Ministry official said. “The total project cost would be Rs 21,738 crore.”

Acceptance of Necessity or AON is the pre-tendering step in the long-winding defence procurement process that takes many years to fructify.

The strategic partnership model stipulates that the choppers would be manufactured through a joint venture involving an original equipment manufacturer and an Indian partner.

Once realised, the new naval utility helicopters would replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak aircraft still being flown by the Navy in the absence of an alternative.

The DAC has also approved purchasing 9 active towed array sonar systems at a cost of Rs 450 crore to improve the listening abilities of the warships and submarines.

The sonars  are hydrophone systems towed behind a ship by a cable stretching for several kilometres. These sonars have better signal-to-noise ratio and can pick up faint signals emanating from enemy submarines.

Without the sophisticated equipments, Indian warships manage with hull mounted sonars with limited capability.

The defence ministry's previous attempt to buy six sonars from a German firm in 2014 didnt fructify so far.
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