Fear of intellectual property loss combined with inexperience in helicopter manufacture led Russia's Rostec Corp to select Hindustan Aeronautics Limited over a private firm in the 'Make in India' program to manufacture KA-226T helicopters.
The helicopter manufactured by Russian Helicopters boasts of certain unique technologies never before employed in any helicopter in its class anywhere in the world- It is the only chopper with a co-axial twin rotor and no tail rotor. Besides it has a modular cabin which can be disengaged from the main fuselage and application-specific cabins can be mounted.
"In a few minutes the helicopter can be modified from a utility chopper to a light attack helicopter to a medical evacuation facility. The twin rotors give it a unique manoeuvrability which some of the best attack helicopters in the world cannot match," said a source from Rostec who did not wish to be named.
Naturally, we are concerned with the intellectual property (IP) of the technologies employed in the helicopter and a state-owned company such as HAL will give us a comfort level as regards to IP protection that a privately held company cannot, the source said.
The second reason is that HAL is the only company in India with extensive helicopter manufacture including its own original product, the ALH Dhruv. It is the best positioned to absorb some of the cutting edge technologies in the KA-226T.
Economic Times news daily in August claimed, “Russia had announced an understanding with the subsidiary company of Reliance Infrastructure for the project, indicating that the company could be a lead integrator for the mega contract to manufacture 200 twin-engine helicopters for the Indian Army.”
It further reported that while an option to partner with defence public sector unit, HAL has also been kept open with the final approval resting with the Indian government.
The news daily quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Russian side has expressed keenness on a joint venture with under a new entity that could be named 'Reliance Helicopters'.