by Abhishek Bhalla

The Ministry of Defence on Saturday cleared procurement worth Rs 46,000 crore including utility helicopters for the navy and indigenous artillery guns for the army on Saturday.

The plan to purchase 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 21,000 crores will be the first project under the MoD’s Strategic Partnership (SP) Model aimed to give a boost to domestic manufacturing of defence equipment under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ program.

The strategic partnership model has a long-term vision of promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment and moving towards being self reliant by establishing an industrial and research and development ecosystem capable of meeting the future requirements of the Armed Forces.

A recent parliamentary panel said nothing concrete has been done to implement the strategic partnership model unveiled last year that would reduce defence exports. The panel in its report pointed out that 60 per cent defence equipment is imported.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also approved the procurement 150 indigenous artillery guns 24 anti-submarine capable, Multi Role Helicopters, which are an integral part of the frontline warships like the Aircraft Carriers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes.

Indigenously designed and Developed 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems for the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs 3,364.78 crores are expected to be the mainstay of the army’s artillery firepower.

“These guns have been indigenously designed and developed by Defence and Research Development Organisation and will be manufactured by production agencies, as nominated by DRDO,” MoD said.

The procurement of 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile Systems was also cleared by the DAC. Of these, 10 systems will be indigenously developed and will enhance e self-defence capability of vessels against Anti-Ship Missiles.