India to build Kamov Ka-226T helicopters

Photo by Russian Helicopters

The governments of  Russia and India have inked a cooperation agreement on joint rotorcraft production, reads a statement on the Kremlin’s official website. The agreement involves setting up an assembly line for Kamov Ka-226T light utility helicopters in India, The Times of India cites Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as saying. The document was signed on December 24, during Modi’s official visit to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The contract is estimated to be worth $600 million, The New Indian Express reports.

Various Indian media sources name Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the Indian partner chosen for the project. Of the total batch of 197 helicopters, the first 60 will be manufactured in Russia. The Ka-226T is to replace the ageing Cheetah (Indian name for the Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama) and  Chetak (200 HAL-built airframes of the Aérospatiale SA.319 Alouette III model) helicopters used by that country’s armed forces for high-altitude operations, particularly over the Siachen Glacier. However, the Ka-226’s civil applications may see Indian production continued beyond the agreed batch in the interest of the commercial market, whose capacity is estimated at another 200 such aircraft.

The Ka-226T won the Indian Defense Ministry’s 2014 light utility helicopter tender. The results were subsequently cancelled, and the tender replaced with the ongoing request for proposals under the government’s Make In India program.

The Ka-226T modification, developed especially for India, is powered by two Turbomeca Arrius 2G1 engines, which are more powerful than the Rolls-Royce M250s mounted on the original version.

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