The Army is on its way to get the much desired attack helicopters that it has been pitching for with the matter being discussed in detail with Defence Minister A K Antony who reviewed the Armys preparedness levels and discussed its acquisition plans for the next two years.
In a detailed meeting on Monday,Army Chief General Bikram Singh is believed to have made a strong case for the acquisition for combat air assets that are part of the acquisition plan to give more teeth to its strike formations.
In the past,the Air Force has protested against any acquisition of attack helicopters by the Army,arguing that such choppers should be operated by the Air Force that is specialised in air combat. However,with the matter being discussed in a meeting with Antony on planned acquisitions for the next two years has given the Armys case a clear boost.
Sources said that a detailed review was carried out in a two hour meeting that included the Defence Secretary and other senior officials. Antony is believed to have directed the Army to fully utilise its budget in the current financial year and has suggested organisational changes to ensure that projects are carried out on time.
The minister reviewed the planned accretion of force levels and infrastructure in the North- East and discussed the enhancement of air lift capability for the eastern sector. Among other things,the Army discussed its plans to improve ordinance depots that hold stocks of ammunition.
The current progress in acquisition of artillery equipment was discussed and the Army shared its plans to enhance night visibility for combat platforms. The acquisition of new UAVs to enhance the reconnaissance and surveillance capability of the Army was also part of the discussions.
This was the first meeting to review the armys force levels since Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh took over.