HAL To Manufacture Russian Military Helicopters
3 May 2016
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is set to include the participation of its 4,000-plus vendors across the country, to help execute the contract to manufacture the Russian Kamov military helicopters. More Indian companies are set to join the fray and participate in the contract, estimated to cost over $1 billion.
Russia and India had agreed to jointly produce about 200 Ka-226T helicopters to replace the Cheetah and Chetak Choppers under the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. An agreement to this effect was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow in December 2015.
Sources said sixty aircraft will be supplied to be assembled in India, while the remaining 140 are planned to be manufactured at Indian production facilities.
HAL’s prior experience
Sources added that though it is an inter-government deal drawn on the same lines as the earlier Russian Sukhoi-30-MKI fighter jets, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was chosen to manufacture the helicopters for the Indian armed forces given its previous experience in making copters.
A senior HAL official, speaking to BusinessLine on the condition of anonymity, said a decision had not yet been taken on the location to manufacture the copters. “Discussions are on to manufacture the Ka-226T in Nashik, Maharashtra, though Bengaluru happens to be the main ground for manufacturing helicopters. Bengaluru has the wherewithal and the necessary manpower. However, all Russian production is done out of Nashik,” said the official.
HAL has developed a “separate township in Nashik for manufacturing Russian defence contracts. This does not include helicopters,” said the official. The manufacturing unit for the Ka-226T helicopters was slated to come up at Tumakuru near Bengaluru, which was primarily set up to manufacture and undertake MRO activities for indigenously designed and developed light utility helicopter and other helicopters.
The official said HAL has never manufactured helicopters with Russian collaboration. “All our joint Russian production has been fixed wing. Now, we have to learn to collaborate on rotary wing,” said the official, adding that it brought its own set of issues.
With each helicopter set to have “230 different parts”, HAL is looking at “mission collaboration” and is set to outsource the work to its Indian vendors.
“We have 4,000-plus vendors across the country. We will work with our suppliers and vendors to build individual hardware,” confirmed the HAL official.
The Russian-Indian joint venture includes holdings of Rosoboronexport, Russian Helicopters, and HAL.
Though HAL is Russia’s main partner in the project, Rosoboronexport recently announced it would also pick other Indian firms to participate in the project.
Viktor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy of the Russian State Corporation Rostec, said the production of Russia’s Kamov Ka-226T in India may begin in 2017.
Speaking to the media at the Defence Services Asia exhibition, Kladov said Rostec would pick a number of other Indian companies to participate in the project.
The Ka-226T is a twin engine multi-role helicopter offered by Russian Helicopters, for military and civilian missions. The military version of the Ka-226T is designed for operation in hard-to-reach upland conditions.
The Ka-226T is produced by Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, a part of Russian Helicopters, and is currently in service with the Russian Air Force.
Source : thehindubusinessline.com