India and Russia close to reviving two-year Kamov helicopter JV deal

New Delhi and Moscow  are finally getting close to signing off on the $1bn joint venture for the construction of  Kamov-226 helicopters after the idea was revived two years after it was first suggested by  President Vladimir Putin. 140 of the 200 helicopters in the initial order will be built in India as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s drive to build a domestic defence industrial base and cut imports, and will be primarily be used to  replace the ageing fleet currently deployed along its Himalayan border with China.
Final documents relating to the $1bn Kamov deal between Russian Helicopters, Rosoboronexport and India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has been submitted to Putin, HAL’s CEO T Suvarna Raju told reporters yesterday. A team from Russian Helicopters will assess the Indian manufacturing facilities over the next few months. “We are keeping our fingers crossed about launching production this year,” an executive at Russian Helicopters said.
If the deal goes ahead, it will signal a reversal of fortune in  the Russian defence sector’s dealings with the sub-continent. While it was  the main supplier of military equipment to India for many years, it has recently been superseded by France, Israel and, increasingly, the US as the chief suppliers of hardware. US aerospace and defence firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing have both offered to set up production lines in India to make combat planes.

Source: reuters