Indian Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is a “front-runner” for partnering with Russia for the manufacture of Kamov Ka-226T helicopters under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Sergey Chemezov, Rostec CEO on the sidelines of Moscow Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS), 2015 today told media today said that the state-run HAL is a front-runner for partnering with Russia for the Kamov Ka-226T helicopter project.
India can manufacture 160 of 200 Kamov Ka-226T Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) meant to replace Cheetah and Chetak choppers with the rest 40 being made in Russia.
“Under the agreement reached between Russia and India on manufacturing 200 KA-226T helicopters, New Delhi will be free to build and export the aircraft to other countries,” Chemezov said.
Under the helicopter manufacturing project, the first 40 will be produced in Russia and the rest will be made in India with transfer of technology and license for production, he said.
The Russian offer to build the LUH in India has received clearance in May from the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC).
“Talks are on to identify a partner and it is up to India to choose a partner,” Chemezov said. There were talks that apart from HAL, Anil Ambani group was also interested in partnering in the exercise.
Indian Ambassador to Russia P S Raghavan had recently said that defense cooperation between the two countries continues to be vibrant despite India buying or proposing to buy military equipment from other countries including France from which it intends to procure Rafale fighter jets. India is still dependent on Russia for nearly 60-70 per cent of its defense supplies.
Chemezov said work on building Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) was also on the right track.
The two countries had signed strategic partnership agreement during President Vladimir Putin’s India visit in 2000.
Chemezov said talks were in progress for negotiating ship and submarine building and creating service centers to cater to the need for maintenance of equipment already supplied to India.