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Russia approves helicopter joint venture with India

07 April 2017
Russia has approved a joint venture for the production of Ka-226T helicopters in India. Source: Kamov

The Russian government has reportedly approved a joint venture (JV) with India that will produce Kamov Ka-226T 'Hoodlum' light multirole helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.

The proposed JV supports a government-to-government agreement between the two countries signed in September 2016, through which India will procure at least 200 Ka-226T helicopters for the Indian Army Aviation Corps and the Indian Air Force.

Citing unidentified Indian defence ministry officials, reports in India on 6 April said the decision to form the JV had been delayed due to concerns over costs but that Russian president Vladimir Putin had now given approval for the JV to be established.

Officials cited by the reports said that the two JV partners - Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russian defence industry holding company Rostec - will sign an agreement soon to finalise the new company that will produce the helicopters and provide related support.

Once the JV has been officially established negotiations related to workshare, technology transfers, and the scope of licenced production can commence. The JV is expected to build about 140 of the required helicopters, with the remainder delivered in an initial batch by Russian Helicopters. Deliveries of this initial batch are expected to start in 2019.

Speaking to Jane's in March, Viktor Kladov, Rostec's director for international co-operation and regional policy, confirmed that the JV to produce the Ka-226T in India was close to conclusion but also pointed to potential cost issues in establishing joint-investment defence companies.

"We are now finalising the terms of the JV to produce the Ka-226T," he said. "This will be a fly-by-wire helicopter made from composite materials, with the best engine and avionics. That's going to be a great helicopter and we are doing it in partnership with India."

Speaking generally, Kladov said JVs were not always an ideal structure for joint defence production programmes because they could increase costs.

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