Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 19
More than four years after India and Russia signed an inter-governmental pact allowing Russia to supply 200 Kamov Ka-226T helicopters, the price negotiations have been concluded. A formal contract may be signed in the next few months.
The price for the 200 copters would be around $4 billion (Rs 28,000 crore approximately), sources said. This would also include transfer of 50% technology, including structure of the copter, its blades and landing gear, all important for metallurgy and transfer of technology.
The Kamov 226T uses an engine made by French major Safran. India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran already have an existing joint venture to produce engines for the advanced light helicopter made by the HAL. A facility
to manufacture KA-226T helicopters in India has been created at HAL’s newly set up plant at Tumkuru, near Bengaluru. A new created entity called Indo Russian Helicopter Pvt. Ltd. (IRHL) will produce these copters. Once the domestic demand is met, India and Russia also intend to export Kamov-226Ts to other countries.
The Kamov is a replacement for the obsolete Cheetah and Chetak fleets of the Indian armed forces. The three services need 495 light-utility helicopters (LUH) to replace Cheetah/Chetak fleet of helicopters. The Army requires 259, IAF 125 and Navy around 111 such helicopters equipped with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.
Cheetah/Chetak helicopters are based on the 1950s’ designed Alouette Aérospatiale 315B Lama of France.
While the Naval tender is separate from this contract, the demand for some 384 light copters will be met by the Kamov and the ALH. The HAL is producing 24-26 helicopters per year and the Ministry of Defence wants it to produce at least 80 per annum.
India and Russia concluded an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for 200 helicopters in October 2015. As per the original tender, 60 helicopters will be imported from Russia and the rest will be built in India. A joint venture (JV) has already been set up between HAL and Russia’s Rostec – JSC Rosoboronexport and Russian Helicopters.
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