New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian armed forces are all set to finally receive light utility helicopters starting next year as the Indian government is expected to ink a contract with India-Russia Helicopters Limited for the supply of 200 Kamov Ka-226T as early as the first quarter of 2018. The Indian armed forces are in dire need of such helicopters to augment their strength along the Chinese border.
"We discussed all aspects of the Ka-226T project. (It was) agreed that the contract should be signed in the beginning of 2018," Andrei Boginsky, CEO of Russian Helicopters told the PTI after the meeting with the Indian defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi.
India-Russia Helicopter Limited, the joint venture incorporated in June of this year, has a 49.5 percent stake in Russia's Rostec Corp. and the remaining 50.5 percent is owned by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). Under the deal for 200 Kamov Ka-226Ts, 60 helicopters will be received in flight-ready condition from Russia while another 40 will be assembled in India and the remaining will be 100 fully built in India.
Earlier Russian Helicopters said in a statement that Andrei Boginsky would discuss with Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman the possibilities of increasing the import of helicopters to India and how to arrange after sales maintenance for helicopters manufactured in Russia as well as the supply of spare parts and components.
HAL is also developing a single engine three-ton light utility helicopter independently; two prototypes have already been released. HAL is expected to freeze the helicopter configuration by the end of this year but it will take at least five years for the project to be realized.