After test-firing the K-4 nuclear missiles from submarines, the defence ministry is now planning to decide upon the manufacture of naval utility helicopters for the Indian Navy. This manufacturing program would be the first "Make in India" project under Prime Minister Narendra Modi government's strategic partnership policy. The Defence Ministry will also discuss a DRDO-Indian Air Force project to develop two Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), in their meeting on Thursday. The project would be over Rs 6,000 crore with almost equal funding from both the organisations.
"The first project under the Strategic Partnership policy is scheduled to be taken up for discussion by the Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Defence Minister today," government sources said here.
As per the “Make in India” agenda and the strategic partnership policy with IAF and DRDO, the Modi government wants to promote the indigenous industry in manufacturing world-class military hardware and the manufacturing of naval choppers. ANI’s sources said that the Navy has decided to have four strategic partners for the project. Sources also add that DAC will take a final call on the names of shortlisted vendors.
The Defence Acquisition Council is the apex body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on acquisition projects of the three services and the Indian coast guard. The Defence Ministry, apart from the choppers, is also likely to discuss an Army project to acquire around 20,000-night sighting devices for assault rifles of Army troops. Also, a European firm has offered two of its choppers for the naval program.
In a bid to strengthen India's capabilities, the armed forces have test-fired a 3,500 km range K-4 nuclear missile from a submarine. The test-firing was performed off the coast of Andhra Pradesh in early November. DRDO is developing this missile system for the Arihant class nuclear submarines which are built by India. These submarines would be the mainstay of India's nuclear triad - the capability to launch nuclear missiles from land, air, and sea - which India completed in 2018.