For the first time, Indian Navy would induct US-made helicopters with the government giving the go-ahead for purchase of six Sikorsky-Seaking choppers.
The six helicopters are part of the package deal for the purchase of the Landing ship tank USS Trenton, from which the choppers operate.
While, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had cleared the purchase of Trenton at a cost of Rs 200 crores, the sale of helicopters was being negotiated.
"The government has now cleared the proposal and the utility, search and resuce helicopters will be delivered along with Trenton by February 2007," the new Naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta told PTI today.
Mehta, speaking on the sidelines of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Naval ship constructors here, said that Request for Proposals for purchasing eight long range maritime reconissance aircraft were being analysed.
Addressing the jubilee celebrations, the Naval Chief said the indigenous aircraft carrier construction programme had demonstrated the country's drive towards self reliance and transition from a "buyers' to a builders' navy".
Pointing out that country's shipyards had rolled out 80 warships so far, Mehta said Government was giving top priority to self sufficiency in warship and submarine building.
He also called on Naval constructors to look at ways to enhance capacities of existing shipyards and to cut down time-lines and cost of production.