Defence Ministry approval to buy 12 mine counter-measure vessels for Navy

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Chennai: The Ministry of Defence(MoD) on Saturday cleared the proposal to acquire 12 mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) for the Navy at a cost of `32,000 crore and additional purchase of 38 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the IAF from Switzerland.

As part of the efforts to give a boost to the ‘Make in India’ policy, the ministry also decided that future requirements of the trainer aircraft would be met by the state-run Hindustan Aeronauticals Limited (HAL) which would be given adequate orders for its HTT-40 plane to be commercially viable.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, also okayed the purchase of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the IAF to replace the one which had crashed in March last year killing five personnel, including four officers, near Gwalior.

According to sources, the DAC had decided to seek more information on the proposal to purchase US-2i amphibious aircraft from Japan. The major decision taken on Saturday was regarding the Pilatus Aircraft. The Council had decided to go in for the option clause in the deal that was originally signed in 2012.

The original contract for 75 aircraft had the option clause of buying 50 per cent under same terms and conditions for three years. This option clause runs out in May and hence the Council decided to go in for that.

The IAF has so far inducted 59 PC-7 aircraft. It had calculated a requirement of 181 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA)out of which 90 were supposed to be bought off the shelf, with 91 being made in India. However, the erstwhile UPA Government decided to go in for a 75-aircraft contract with a 50 per cent follow-on clause.

“The remaining requirement will be met by the HAL which will supply its indigenously developed HTT-40. Adequate orders will be given to the HAL to make their production commercially viable,” the Ministry sources said.

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