HAL ties with Russia to manufacture Kamov helicopters

New Delhi: Russia's Rostech State Corporation has tied up with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture at least 200 Kamov 226T light helicopters in a deal estimated to be worth 1 billion USD under 'Make in India' initiative. The Kamov will replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak.

Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostech said organization for the manufacture of helicopters is provided by the creation of a Russian-Indian joint venture in India, which includes holdings of Rostech-JSC 'Rosoboronexport' and 'Russian Helicopters¿, and on the India side - the corporation Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi¿s recent visit to Moscow, an agreement was signed between the two countries on cooperation in the field of helicopter manufacturing.

According to the document, Rostech will organise in India the production of Russian Ka-226T and its modifications. The agreement also provides for maintenance, operation and repair of helicopters.

The Defence Ministry had in August last year scrapped a scam-tainted tender to procure light utility helicopters for army and air force to replace the fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers, used to to move troops and equipment to high-altitude locations like Siachen.

Earlier this year, a group of army officers-wives had urged the Defence Minister to stop the use of `outdated¿ Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which have claimed a number of lives in mishaps.

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