160 Kamov choppers to be built in India, 40 in Russia

India can manufacture 160 out of the 200 Kamov Ka-226T Light Utility Helicopters -- which will eventually replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak choppers -- while the rest will be made in Russia, the CEO of a state-run business and manufacturing conglomerate here has said.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 27, 2015, 20:42 PM IST

Moscow: India can manufacture 160 out of the 200 Kamov Ka-226T Light Utility Helicopters -- which will eventually replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak choppers -- while the rest will be made in Russia, the CEO of a state-run business and manufacturing conglomerate here has said.

Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Russian state-run business and manufacturing conglomerate Rostec Corporation, said under the agreement reached between Russia and India on manufacturing 200 KA226T helicopters, New Delhi will be free to build and export the aircraft to other countries.

This is considered a major step forward towards realisation of the 'Make in India' campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which is being seen with keen interest here.

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 licence for production.

State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is a "front-runner" for partnering with Russia for the manufacture of Kamov Ka-226T helicopters -- which will eventually replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak choppers -- under the 'Make in India' initiative.

The Russian offer to build the Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) in India received clearance in May from the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

"Talks are on to identify a partner and it is up to India to choose a partner," Chemezov told international media on the sidelines of Moscow Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS), 2015, an aero show and aviation exposition.

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 told PTI that defence cooperation between the two countries continues to be vibrant despite India buying or proposing to buy military equipment from other countires 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 defence 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 centres to cater to the need for maintenance of equipment already supplied to India.