The Ministry of Defence on Saturday approved procurement worth almost Rs 46,000 crore for the armed forces, including 111 utility helicopters worth Rs 21,000 crore for the Indian Navy. The ministry’s Defence Acquisition Council cleared the proposals.

The helicopters will be purchased under a strategic partnership model that would allow an Indian firm to manufacture them in collaboration with the original equipment manufacturer.

The ministry also approved the purchase of defence equipment worth Rs 24,879 crore that would help modernise the armed forces. These include the acquisition of 150 indigenously designed and developed 155 mm advanced towed artillery gun systems for the Army at a cost of Rs 3,364 crore.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader P Chidambaram accused the Centre of ignoring the defence procurement procedure while finalising the controversial Rafale deal. In September, India signed an inter-governmental deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets for Rs 58,000 crore.