Indian LUH mega-deal close to signing

The long-awaited contract for the sale of 200 Ka-226T 3.4-tonne light utility helicopters (LUH) to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is expected to be signed at the end of this year or early 2018.

In May 2015, the Ka-226T was selected the winner of a protracted and hotly contested Indian MoD tender for 200 LUHs, intended to replace its existing fleet of Indian aerospace manufacturer HAL Chetaks and Cheetahs. A significant proportion of the helicopters will be produced locally under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

According to Andrey Boginsky, Director General of Russian Helicopters, a joint venture between Russian Helicopters and HAL is set to act as the main contractor in the mega-deal. He also hinted that the delivery of the first batch of ten Ka-226Ts is slated to commence within two years of the first advance payment instalment.

Sergey Chemezov, head of Russian industrial conglomerate Rostec, the parent company of Russian Helicopters, claimed that the total price of the Ka-226T production contract for the Indian MoD will exceed $1 billion.

The final breakdown of the Russianbuilt and Indian-built Ka-226Ts was agreed in late December 2015 in an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the helicopter industry. The initial 60 Ka-226Ts are set to be built in Russia, while no fewer than 140 more will be built under licence in India during a later phase.

The Russian-built Ka-226Ts will be assembled at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, while a significant proportion of parts and assemblies will be supplied by the KumAPE plant in Kumertau.

Indian Ka-226T production, using mostly Russian-supplied parts and assemblies, will be handled by an Indian-Russian joint venture company set up between Russian Helicopters and HAL. The initial agreement for its establishment was signed in October 2016, but the share of each of the partners is yet to be finally agreed. Alexander Mladenov