- According to officials, private sector firms will also be permitted to export 25% of their output to third countries, generating foreign exchange for the country.
- The Indian Armed Forces have been instructed to purchase the developed IMRH, which is scheduled to be deployed over the next seven years.
The Defence Ministry has decided to amend the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) manual to allow the private sector to collaborate with an Indian Defence PSU with a majority stake and manufacture the required weapon system as part of a major push to “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in the military hardware sector.
This collaboration, according to South Block officials, will be tested in the development and manufacture of the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH), which will eventually replace all Russian-built Mi-17 and Mi-8 helicopters in the Indian military’s current inventory.
The IMRH will have a take-off weight of 13 tonnes and will be used by the Indian military in air assault, air attack, anti-submarine, anti-ship, military transport, and VVIP roles.
It is believed that Indian private sector companies have already expressed an interest in participating in the project, with the Defence Ministry instructing them to begin manufacturing within the next seven years. On July 8, 2022, French Safran signed an MoU with Indian HAL to form a new joint venture company to develop, produce, and support the IMRH engine, including the naval variant.
According to officials, private sector firms will also be permitted to export 25% of their output to third countries, generating foreign exchange for the country. The Indian Armed Forces have been instructed to purchase the developed IMRH, which is scheduled to be deployed over the next seven years.
The private sector companies have also asked the Defence Ministry to guarantee that the Indian armed forces will buy the helicopter if it is manufactured within the next five years, thereby shortening timelines and saving money and man-hours.
The decision to allow the private sector to acquire a 51% stake and form a joint venture with Indian PSUs was made because the latter were failing to deliver on time, resulting in cost overruns. This delay had left the Modi government with no choice but to purchase the much-needed machines from other countries via tender or government-to-government negotiations.
While the IMRH is expected to be deployed over the next five to seven years, the Indian Navy is expected to receive its first anti-submarine warfare Sirkorsky MH 60R Seahawk helicopters by the end of this year. Although the first two to three helicopters have already been delivered to the Indian Navy for training purposes by the San Diego Naval Station in the United States, the remaining 21 helicopter deliveries will begin soon in accordance with the USD 2.3 billion February 2020 agreement signed by both governments.