The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the purchase of 56 naval light utility helicopters at a cost of approximately $70bn.

The Indian Navy requires a twin-engine helicopter with a modern airframe design and fully integrated advanced avionics to replace its aging fleet of Chetaks.

The navy has proposed twin-control choppers that should also be capable of being operated by a single pilot.

The helicopters should also be capable of carrying out various missions that include anti-submarine warfare operations with torpedoes and depth charges, anti-piracy and anti-terrorism missions.

The tenders for the helicopter purchase deal are expected to be officially floated by the end of 2010.