India and Russia have concluded an agreement to create a joint venture to produce Ka-226T light multi-role helicopters in Russia and India. The signing of the agreement took place after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in the Indian state of Goa.
For Russia, the agreement was signed by Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev and the head of Rosoboronexport Anatoly Isaikin. Both entities are part of State Corporation Rostec. The Indian side was represented by the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Suvarna Raju.
The signing of the joint venture marks a new stage of cooperation between Russia and India in the helicopter industry, following the intergovernmental agreement between Moscow and Delhi in December 2015. The selection of the Ka-226T, announced earlier in 2015 in preference to Airbus Helicopters’ Fennec, marked the culmination of a 10-year effort to find a replacement for around 200 ageing Indian Army and Air Force Cheetahs and Chetaks. The so-called Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter (RSH) programme had been re-launched and re-bid multiple times over this period.
In addition, the joint venture will become a pilot project for the Russian-Indian part of New Delhi’s Make in India programme.
Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev described the agreement as “a breakthrough project for us, because it fundamentally changes the model of our cooperation within the helicopter industry. For the first time we are ready to offer our deep localization of helicopters, including the set up for production of various helicopter components and assemblies."
Under the terms of the intergovernmental agreement, the joint Russian-Indian enterprise created by Russian Helicopters, JSC Rosoboronexport and India's HAL Corporation must arrange the localization of production and supply of 200 light multirole Ka-226T for nine years. The first 60 helicopters will be produced in Russia, and the production of the remaining 140 helicopters is being planned in India. In addition to the assembly, the agreement provides for maintenance, operation, repairs and technical support cooperation.
The joint venture is set to create facilities for repairs and maintenance of helicopters produced in India in 5 years, and facilities for the overhaul within 7 years after deliveries of the first batch of helicopters.
The Ka-226T is powered by Arrius 2G1 engines supplied by Safran Helicopter Engines.