NEW DELHI: In the first in the series of Make in India defence projects, public sector undertaking, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, will team up with Russia’s Rostech State Corporation to manufacture at least 200 Kamov 226T light helicopters to replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak copters.
The deal estimated to be worth $1 billion was announced last week during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow. “The Russian government had suggested HAL’s name for the partnership to build helicopters here in India and New Delhi has accepted the suggestion. So, HAL will build 400 light utility helicopters under Make in India,” a top government source told Express.
Russia’s Rostech State Corporation CEO of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov said in a statement, “The organisation for the manufacture of helicopters is provided by the creation of a Russian-Indian joint venture in India, which includes holdings of Rostec-JSC ‘Rosoboronexport’ and ‘Russian Helicopters”, and on the India side – the corporation HAL.” An agreement was signed between the two countries on cooperation in the field of manufacturing. The document was signed in the presence of Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the document, Rostech will organise in India the production of Russian Ka-226T and its modifications in the amount of not less than 200 units. The agreement also provides for maintenance, operation and repair of helicopters. According to a statement from HAL, PM Modi will inaugurate a new helicopter production facility of HAL at Tumkur in Karnataka on Sunday. Sources said that while the facility would be used for manufacture of Advanced Light Helicopters, Kamov could also be built there.
These light utility helicopters will be the lifeline for high-altitude operations of the army like Siachen. The Defence Ministry had in August last year scrapped a scam-tainted tender worth over `6,000 crore to procure 197 light utility helicopters to replace the fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers.
■ Deal estimated to be worth $1 billion
■ Russian Govt suggested partnership with HAL
■ The light utility copters will be used in high-altitude operations
■ The partners considering joint access to other markets