New Delhi:In one of the biggest boosts to indigenous defence manufacturing and Navy’s requirement for helicopters, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared the production of 111 naval utility choppers under the strategic partnership policy — along with direct procurement of 24 multirole choppers from the US.

The defence minister approved the Army proposal of acquiring 150 made-in-India Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) howitzers at a cost of around Rs 3,500 crore, which would be for the first time manufactured by Indian private sector companies Tata and Bharat Forge. The story was first broken by MyNation on August 24.

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“The naval helicopter projects have been approved at the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council held today. The project will help the Navy to do away with its long-pending demand for choppers,” sources told MyNation.

After the clearance of the project, now the American, European and Russian rivals are expected to compete for the project expected to be worth around Rs 25,000 crore where they will have to tie up with an Indian partner and manufacture the helicopters indigenously.

This is the first project to be cleared by the government for manufacturing of weapon systems and platforms under the recently-finalised strategic partnership policy.