India and Russia have entered final negotiations for the purchase of 48 Mi-17 helicopters following the conclusion of pre-contractual work earlier this year.
The contract is estimated to be worth between US$700 million to $800 million, though officially there is no word on the pricing.
The contract for the MI-17-V5 is expected to be singed anytime this year, according to Igor Chechikov, Russian Helicopters Deputy CEO who is present at the Aero India show in Bangalore.
Chechikov said that the production of the KA-226T light helicopters for India is being prepared under the umbrella joint ventue between Russian Helicopters, Rosoboronexport and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The KA-226T helicopters would not only be for Indian military but also for civilian users considering that it is a modular machine and can be adapted to vaious missions and applications. The plan was not only to sell in India but also abroad. Third countries have shown interest in buying the helicopters.
The company had no plan to manufacture the medium lift Mi-17 in India at the moment but do not rule out the possibility later on. If the KA 226T succeeds in the Indian market, then the possibility of manufacturing it in India exists, Chechikov said.
H said India was one of the biggest operators of Russian helicopters with the number exeeding 400. With such a big fleet after sales support assumes paramount importance and his company was working on a single-window system for spares.