Indian and Russian experts are currently working on improving the technical concept of the KA-226T helicopters, which could mean customizing the choppers to Indian requirements.
Sergei Goreslavsky, Deputy Director General of Rosoboronexport said in an interview to Interfax-AVN earlier this week that parallel to this activity, documentation for the creation of a joint venture in India and the setting up of an assembly plant was in “full swing.”
At the first stage, a few dozen assembled Ka-226T’s are to be delivered to India in a fly-away condition followed by manufacturing the helicopters in Indian under the Make in India program.
He added that the Russian side was ok with the Indian position that helicopters manufactured in India should also be exported. “Conceptually, we are positive about this, but all these things need to be agreed on so that this venture would be mutually rewarding.”
India wants the KA-226T to replace the Cheetah and Cheetak helicopters in service with the Indian armed forces. The Russian machines are expected to perform a variety of missions including transport, casualty evacuation, search-and-rescue and light attack.
As part of localisation, the Indian side would want Indian electronic components to be fitted onto the choppers.
Meanwhile, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has not yet finalized a location for housing the KA-226T helicopter facility. Local media reports said, “Discussions are on to manufacture the Ka-226T in Nashik, Maharashtra, though Bengaluru happens to be the main ground for manufacturing helicopters. Bengaluru has the wherewithal and the necessary manpower. However, all Russian production is done out of Nashik,” the HinduBusinessline reported.
This will be the first cooperation between HAL and Russian helicopters for the manufacture of helicopters. HAL wants to include the participation of its 4,000-plus vendors to supply parts and components for the helicopters.