The Defence Ministry on Tuesday approved buying 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy for Rs 21,738 crore, PTI reported, quoting unidentified officials. These are the first proposals to be cleared under the strategic partnership model announced by the Union Cabinet in May.

Of the 111 choppers, 16 will be procured in a “fly-away condition” while the remaining 95 will be manufactured in India, officials said. The government will now identify a foreign helicopter manufacturer and an Indian defence company to form a joint venture for the project.

In May, the Union Cabinet had approved the strategic partnership model to allow domestic private companies to form joint ventures with foreign defence equipment manufacturers.

During the meeting chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, the ministry also approved a Rs 450-crore proposal to procure nine active towed array sonar systems for frontline warships. The sonar systems will be “fitted on modern naval vessels and will enhance their submarine detection capabilities”, an official told The Economic Times.