Four Indian firms- Tata, Adani, Mahindra Defence Systems and Bharat Forge have been shortlisted by the Indian Navy as strategic partners for the final race in a chopper deal worth Rs 25,000 crore for indigenous manufacturing of 111 Naval Utility Choppers. According to reports, the four Indian firms will need to partner with foreign original equipment manufacturers including European Airbus Helicopters which has offered two choppers- American Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin and Russian Rosoboronexport. The new helicopters will be replacing its fleet of Cheetah/Chetak helicopters.
According to reports, the choppers have to be built indigenously through joint ventures between India and foreign firms under the strategic partnership policy of the Narendra Modi government to develop indigenous industry's defence manufacturing capacity. As the next step, the navy will be approaching the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) with the shortlisted Indian and foreign firms to get an approval. According to sources, a total of eight companies have been shortlisted for the project's final race. According to reports, the first 16 helicopters have to be delivered from the OEM's overseas production facility. The remaining 95 choppers will be manufactured in India by the selected strategic partner form.
According to reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi government's Strategic Partnership model was first envisaged under the leadership of late Manohar Parrikar during his stint as defence minister. Later, the model had gained shape under Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Further reports stated that the model's main aim is to create a tie-up between Indian and foreign firms leading to the acquisition of niche technologies. Along with it, the model's aim is to set up the modern production facilities in India.
(WITH ANI INPUTS)