Russian Rosoboronexport will soon begin production of Ka-226T helicopters in India.
“We will soon start manufacturing Ka-226T helicopters in India at Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited, a Russian-Indian joint venture established in 2017. We are also actively cooperating on products for other services of armed forces,” Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev said in a statement ahead of Aero India 2019 International Aerospace Exhibition, which will be held from February 20 to 24 at the Yelahanka Air Base in Bangalore, India.
As part of the project for localising Ka-226T production in India, the two countries are discussing the details of the prospective contract. Additionally, Russian-Indian JV Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited (Hal, Rosoboronexport and Russian Helicopters) intends to offer the Ka-226T to the Indian navy as part of a tender for 111 helicopters.
In May 2018, the Indian ministry of defense issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to procure and co-produce 200 Russian Kamov Ka-226T helicopters for the country’s army and air force, estimated to cost INR 21,000 Crore (US$3 billion).
The RFP was worked out in consultation with the joint venture setup between Russian Helicopters and Indian defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to the RFP, the procurement of 200 helicopters entails 135 for the army and 65 for the IAF. The Kamov helicopters will replace the ageing Cheetah helicopters.
A facility to manufacture KA-226T helicopters in India was formed last year called Indo Russian Helicopter Pvt. Ltd. (IRHL), which will be located at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s proposed helicopter plant in Tumakuru near Bangalore, South India.
IRHL is expected to fulfill a requirement for over 200 utility helicopters for the Indian armed forces. Besides, under the terms of an Indo-Russian agreement, the KA-226T helicopters manufactured in India would also be exported to third countries.
The Ka-226T light multirole helicopter with a coaxial rotor system has a maximum takeoff weight of 3.4 tonnes and is capable of carrying up to 1.5 tonnes of cargoes or up to seven passengers to a distance of 600 km.