The government cleared the purchase of 48 additional Mi-17 V5 helicopters and seven squadrons of Akash short range Surface to Air Missiles for the Air Force. These were part of the projects worth over Rs. 13,000 crore cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday.
While the four squadrons of 48 Mi-17’s from Russia would cost Rs. 6,966 crore, the Akash missiles will be indigenously built by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for Rs. 4,790 crore. The Air Force had previously ordered 139 M-17 helicopters in two batches. BEL will build four Air Traffic Control (ATC) radars at Avantipur, Bhita, Panagarh and Purnia for Rs. 228 crore.
The Navy which is critically short of helicopters will get eight Chetak utility helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for Rs. 322 crore. BEL will set up two dockyard maintenance facilities for Revathi surveillance radars and electronic warfare systems.
For the Army the DAC has cleared 102 short span mobility bridges for Rs. 490 crore under Make in India and 120 Anti-Tank Trawls, used to clear landmines, for T-72 and T-90 tanks to be procured from Russia. Additional units will be manufactured in India. On the Rafale fighter deal, the DAC was briefed by the negotiation committee -- set up to work out the direct purchase contract for 36 aircraft -- on the progress of talks so far and was inturn asked to continue the process. “The negotiation committee briefed the DAC about the progress made so far. DAC has given the go-ahead to them,” said a defence ministry official without getting into the specifics.