India for higher domestic content in Ka-226 choppers
India wants higher original content in the Kamov-226T light utility choppers which are to jointly developed in the country with Russia, two officials comfortable with the move said on state of anonymity. The Kamovs will work as a replacement for the military’s declining Cheetah & Chetak helicopters.
India has told the Russians to review the level of indigenisation to take the local content of the Ka-226Ts to manufacture at Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to beyond the actual figure that stands at about 60%, the 1st official told.
The Indo Russian Helicopters Limited (IRHL), a shared venture between HAL and Russian Helicopters & Rosoborobexport, was organised in May 2017 for the production & supply of around 200 Kamov helicopters. Of these, 60 are required to come from Russia in flyaway condition, and the remaining area to cast at HAL.
“We are waiting to learn from them as to how a greater level of indigenisation can facilitate. That has made some delay. The final number of helicopters-could also be revised based on the answer from the Russian side,” said the 2nd official. HAL has 50.5% of the venture, Russian Helicopters, 42.5% & Rosoboron shipping, 7%.
Experts told India should try higher indigenisation in weapons and systems being combined manufactured with original equipment producers in the country in line with the Make in India drive.
“The Ka-226 has awaited for long Chetak-Cheetah fleet has been overworked and is showing signs of age, witnessed by a large number of events that are happening. A high original content should be required upon as part of our drive to get production in India,” stated Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.
India for higher domestic content in Ka-226 choppers, HAL is also going on a light use helicopter (LUH) of its own. The narrowly designed and developed LUH has completed rigorous trials in high altitude and hot weather and is crawling towards becoming operational clearance.
The LUH is expected to meet a mixed army and air force requirement for 187 choppers. It is produced as a replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which are a line for troops in high-altitude areas. The Chetaks & Cheetahs will follow by a mix of LUH and the Kamov-226T choppers. The 3-tonne LUH is capable of operating at a speed of 220 kmph with a service ceiling of 6.5 km.