MUMBAI, India, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Indian Navy will buy fifty-six light utility helicopters (LUH) worth nearly 70 billion rupee (about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars) to improve the aerial combat capability over the sea, local media reported on Sunday.
The purchase of naval LUH has been recently cleared by the Defense Acquisition Council, said Indian newspaper Daily News and Analysis.
The Indian Navy will choose the new type of helicopter from several modern types of helicopters among the EU, Russia and the United States, the report said.
The new naval type of the LUH should be driven by twin engines with a good survivability, and be designed with the modern airframe and structure. Besides, it should be equipped with the fully-integrated sophisticated avionics and can operate during day and night. It will also have the capability of flight in adverse conditions, such as snow, sleet, storm, sand and slush, according to the report.
The new naval helicopters will be deployed on the Indian shore bases to carry out the coastal operations, such as patrol, search and rescue, reconnaissance and surveillance. They will also be capable of taking off and landing from the decks of warships, including frigates, destroyers and the aircraft carriers.
If necessary, the new helicopters will be able to strike the surface warships with the anti-ship missiles, and carry out the anti-submarine operations with torpedoes and depth bombs, an Indian Navy's official said.
The Indian Air Force and the Army are also very interested in modern LUH, and are reportedly planning to acquire more than 380 over the next decade, of which 197 will be procured from foreign countries while the remaining would be indigenously produced.