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Fast-track acquisition: US offers choppers to India

A file photo of US Dornier 328 jet.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The US has offered to lease out 12 of its Coast Guard's twin-engine helicopters to India which is looking to strengthen its coastal security following the Mumbai terror attacks.

"As the acquisition process will take time, we (India) want to have 12 twin-engine helicopters on lease for the Coast Guard. The US has offered to lease out its Coast Guard helicopters to us," a senior Defence Ministry official said here Monday.

However, India has also got some offers from within the country. But it has to be seen if these civilian helicopters would meet the Coast Guard's military needs, the official said.

Under the fast-track acquisition process, the Coast Guard was asked by the government to purchase 12 Dornier transport aircraft for medium-range surveillance activities and the proposal has been approved already.

"The purchase of 12 Dorniers for the Coast Guard has been approved and government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will supply five Dorniers by this year end," the official said, when asked about the fast-track acquisition process in the wake of the 26/11 attacks.

The 12 twin-engine helicopters to be leased were meant to augment the Dornier fleet for surveillance and reconnaissance activities.

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