Armed forces need to acquire 440 helicopters and most of them would be bought from Indian companies, including state-run HAL, to enhance capacity building, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said.
“Almost 440 helicopters between three services have to be acquired some will be acquired from abroad and most of them have to be domestically manufactured… we have also announced Indian entities can apply and even public sector (firms can apply) so as to have capacity building in India,” he said.
The government decision is expected to generate business worth over Rs 40,000 crore for the local industry in the defence sector.
Besides, India also intends to purchase 56 transport aircraft for which only private sector Indian companies are eligible.
“This time we cancelled the earlier decision and said they will be manufactured in India and Indian companies should apply and only Indian companies should apply which means Indian companies with joint ventures can apply,” he said.
The armed forces had projected their requirements to the Defence Ministry before the government scrapped a Rs 6,000 crore tender to procure 197 such helicopters for the Army and the Air Force.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has already started a project in Tumkur, Karnataka, for building light helicopters, which will have a capacity to lift 2.5 tonnes payload.
Jaitley further said the Defence Acquisition Council of India now meets every month.
“I am sure it will continue to happen because the mechanism has been institutionalised,” he said.