The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the Rs79.65bn ($1.06bn) purchase of locally produced arms and military equipment.

DAC is the Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) highest decision-making body on arms procurement.

It granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the capital acquisition proposals that include the purchase of 12 light utility helicopters (LUHs) from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Lynx U2 naval gunfire control system from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

In a statement, the MoD said that all these proposals fall under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The procurement will modernise and address the operational needs of the armed forces, helping to improve the tracking and engagement capabilities of India’s naval vessels.

The DAC also approved the mid-life upgrade of HAL’s Dornier aircraft to increase the naval capacity of coastal surveillance and maritime reconnaissance.

In November 2019, India requested the sale of 13 MK 45 5in/62 calibre (MOD 4) naval guns and related equipment from the US. BAE Systems Land and Armaments was the principal contractor.

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The sale was approved by the US State Department and notified to Congress.

The MoD said in a statement: “As a further impetus to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, a global procurement case of naval guns has been foreclosed with these guns’ quantity added to the upgraded Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) being manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

“These SRGMs provide niche capabilities of engaging fast manoeuvring targets using guided munitions &range extensions and are to be fitted on the warships of the Indian Navy.”

In June this year, the DAC cleared a key project to build six new conventional submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of some $5.88bn.