Representatives of Russian Helicopters and Rosoboronexport are expected in Bangalore next week to hold talks with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on implementation of a project to manufacture the KA-226T helicopters in India.
A Russian source told defenseworld.net that the talks were intended to specify the technical roles on both sides to manufacture the twin-rotor choppers with modular payloads which are among the most advanced in the world.
Items for discussion include technology transfer to both HAL and private companies who would be selected to manufacture specific components for the project.
“This is perhaps the most technologically intensive Indian-Russian project as it is under the Indian Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ program. What we are looking at is involving Indian private industry right from the beginning to make components for the choppers,” said the source.
He added, “Both sides don’t want it to end up as another kit-assembly project. There has to be deep transfer of technology to Indian companies who would be part of the program.”
HAL on its part has selected a new site in Tumakuru on the outskirts of Bangalore to locate the KA-226T manufacturing facility.
The source declined to give a time-frame for the project’s implementation stating that this will form part of the discussion. Initial lots of the choppers would come equipped with a Turbomeca engine but later versions could have a Russian-made engine, he added.
The Indian Defence Acquisition Council had given the go-ahead in May 2015 to acquire the KA-226T for a requirement of 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters to replace older generation French-origin choppers with the Indian Army and Air Force.