The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has received approval to acquire Chinook and Apache helicopters under a multi-billion dollar deal with the US.
An unnamed MoD official was quoted by Reuters as saying: "The defence acquisition council has cleared the last hurdle for signing of the contract with the US in respect of Apache and Chinook."
Under a $2.5bn deal, US defence contractor Boeing would supply 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and 22 AH-64D attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The Apache deal is hybrid, with one contract to be signed with Boeing for helicopters, and another with the US Government for 812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire missiles, 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire-II missiles, 245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles and 12 AN/APG-78 fire-control radars, as reported earlier by The Times of India.
The Apaches are expected to replace IAF’s ageing Russian-built Mi-25/35 helicopter fleet.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), however, cancelled the long-pending $991.6m ($16.3m) project covering the acquisition of 197 light-utility helicopters (LUH) from foreign vendors.
Instead, the DAC decided that all the 384 helicopters required by the IAF and the Indian Army to replace their ageing Cheetah/Chetak fleets will be manufactured in India with foreign collaboration.
The helicopters were scheduled to be used for transport of troops and supplies in high-altitude areas, such as Siachen Glacier.
In related developments, DAC also cleared the Indian Navy’s proposal to purchase 16 multi-role helicopters, and another INR175bn ($28.8bn) deal covering midlife upgrade of submarines.
The council also approved the INR9bn ($148.3bn) army communications system project that is expected to supply dedicated mobile systems for Tezpur-based 4 Corps, Dimapur-based 3 Corps and Leh-based 14 Corps, Zee News reported.
A proposal for procurement of 40 Arjun tank chassis-based catapult artillery systems was also approved.
Image: The Indian Air Force would receive 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing. Photo: courtesy of Staff Sgt. Nathan Hoskins.