India has moved a step further and reached a milestone in its project of procuring and co-producing 200 Kamov Ka-226T helicopters worth Rs 21,000 crore from Russia for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force, defence ministry officials privy to the matter said.
The ministry, a few days ago, issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project to the manufacturer, Russian Helicopters, part of Russian corporation, Rostec. “The RFP for the 200 Kamov helicopters was signed and given a week ago to Russian Helicopters. This is a milestone in the process of procuring them,” said an official.
The RFP is an important document in the Indian defence procurement process and elaborates on the general requirement of the equipment, the numbers required, delivery timeframes, maintenance and support package.
Officials explained that the RFP was worked out in consultation with the joint venture setup between Russian Helicopters and Indian defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Last year, Indian and Russian officials had met several times to sort out the RFP, including understanding how the program will unfold in India. The RFP makes clear the intent to procure 200 of the helicopters, which entails 135 for the army and 65 for the IAF.
“For the army, 40 will be in flyaway condition and the rest 95 will be co-produced with Russia,” explained an official, adding that the next step is for the manufacturer to respond to the RFP to take the process forward.
Andrey Boginskiy, Director General of Russian Helicopters Holding Company, at the Defexpo-2018 held in Chennai last month had explained to reporters that, “In the nearest time the Russian side is expecting the issue of the RFP for 200 helicopters, and it means that we have come very close to entering into the contract.”
Officials added that the contract is likely to be signed by the end of this year. The Kamov helicopters will replace the ageing Cheetah helicopters. For this, in 2015, India and Russia had signed an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for the supply and localization of the helicopter production in India. In May 2017, a joint venture within the framework of the IGA was registered in Bangalore between Russian Helicopters and HAL.
As part of the project, India will procure 60 of the 200 helicopters in flyaway condition, which will be produced at the Ulan-Ude plant of Russian Helicopters, while the remaining 140 will be made in India under the joint venture. The joint venture facility will be located in the vicinity of Tumkur, near Bangalore.
Boginskiy explained that, “At least 140 helicopters will be assembled at the facilities of the joint venture with a gradual increase of the localization level. At first, components and technologies will be transferred and the provisions will be made for the organization of production in India, then production of components from the supplied materials and assembly of helicopters will begin, and, finally, complete assembly of the helicopters will be organized.”
He added that at the same time Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant is preparing at full speed to its part of work - production of 60 Ka-226T helicopters for India.