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VVIP choppers? We can make them, says DRDO

February 20, 2013 17:10 IST

With the deal for procuring VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland facing the prospect of being scrapped, the Defence Research and Development Organisation on Wednesday said it has the capability to manufacture such helicopters even though it contended that producing anything entirely indigenously was impractical.

"We have the capability to manufacture any system. We are manufacturing LCH (Light Compact Helicopter). We have already manufactured ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) and our own aircraft," DRDO Chief V K Saraswat told PTI.

"There is no dearth of capability and capacity of manufacturing any advanced technology system," he said.

Saraswat was asked on the sidelines of a seminar here whether DRDO is capable of manufacturing choppers such as AgustaWestland AW-1O1.

His statement assumes significance against the backdrop of controversy surrounding the Rs 3600 crore deal for acquiring 12 helicopters from AgustaWestland for the use of Indian VVIPs.

The defence ministry has initiated the process of scrapping the deal in the wake of allegations that kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore were paid to bag the contract.

Saraswat said it is not cost effective to produce each and everything right from needle to an aircraft in the country.

"Because, if you produce something which we need 20 in numbers and you set up a facility for producing which will cost Rs 1000 crore, it is meaningless," he said.

"So, in a global world, in a global economy today, this concept of 100 per cent indigenisation -- everything to be done in-house -- is wrong," Saraswat said.

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