India To Replace Ageing Chetak Helicopters with Domestically-Build Naval Utility Helicopters

India approved the acquisition of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy which is set to replace the ageing Chetak helicopters. Defence Ministry informed that 60% of the NUH helicopters will be manufactured locally.

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The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has granted approval for the purchase of 111 naval utility helicopters under the ‘Strategic Partnership’ model to replace the outdated Chetak helicopters. These helicopters will be used for search and rescue operations, medical evacuation, anti-piracy and anti-terrorism operations, surveillance and targeting.

Indian companies including Tata Advanced Systems Ltd., Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure are expected to participate in the process. Apart from India, foreign OEMs likely to participate are US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Airbus Helicopters and Bell Helicopters of the US.

In order to boost the indigenous defence sector, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council had reviewed and granted approval for implementation of guidelines of key projects.

According to the Indian Navy, 95 helicopters out of 111 will be made in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner under “Make in India” initiative of the government. Under the Naval Utility Helicopters project, 16 helicopters will be bought in a flyaway condition from a foreign military contractor, and the remaining 95 will be built in partnership with an Indian firm in India.

The Strategic Partnership (SP) may give a push to several big projects, including those for building next-generation submarines, fighter planes, and helicopters in India. According to the Defence Ministry, all the acquisitions under the SP would be formulated by specially constituted Empowered Project Committees to provide proper attention and timely execution.

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