If the Ka-226T helicopters, assembled in India, are successfully exported to neighbouring countries, the localised assembly model could be used for other helicopters as well.
Alexander Mikheev, CEO of the Russian Helicopters Holding company, (a Rostec member) does not rule out the possibility of localising production of the Mi-17 helicopters in India.
“At the moment, we have no plans to localise Mi-17 production in India, but we also do not rule out such a possibility in the future,” Mikheev said in an interview with the Indian blog Livefist.
He said if the Ka-226T helicopters, which will be assembled in India, are successfully sold in the markets of neighbouring countries, the localisation experience could be replicated for other models of helicopters.
Russia handed over the final batch of three Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters to India in February this year, under a previously signed contract, which entailed a total of 151 helicopters, built by the Kazan Helicopter Plant, (part of the Russian Helicopters company). India also approved the purchase of 48 additional Mi-17V-5 helicopters.
The new helicopters are for use in operations in various sectors, including in the desert and in mountainous terrain.
Mi-17 military transport helicopters are among the most popular helicopters in their class. These helicopters were built incorporating a full-spectrum analysis of Russian helicopters' operation in combat situations and conflict zones. It is the universality and high flight capabilities of these helicopters that make them among the world's most popular Russian-made helicopters.
The latest Mi-8/17 military transport helicopter family includes the Mi-17V-5 (domestic designation Mi-8MTV-5) made at Kazan Helicopters and the Mi-171Sh (Mi-8AMTSh) made at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant.
Mi-17V-5 (Mi-8MTV-5) and Mi-171Sh (Mi-8AMTSh) helicopters are designed to transport personnel, and for carrying cargo internally or on an external sling. They can be used for search and rescue operations, and can also be equipped with weapons.
India and Russia formally inked an agreement on October 15, 2016, to create a joint venture to produce Ka-226T helicopters in India. The agreement was part of the outcome of the Russia-India summit in Goa.
Signing the JV agreement marked a new stage of cooperation between Russia and India in the helicopter industry, first outlined in the intergovernmental agreement between Moscow and New Delhi in December 2015. The JV will become a pilot project for the Russian-Indian part of the “Make in India” programme.
"The joint venture is certainly a breakthrough project for us, because it fundamentally changes the model of our cooperation within the helicopter industry. For the first time we are ready to offer our deep localisation of helicopters, including the set up for production of various helicopter components and assemblies. I hope that the Ka-226T assembled in India has a great future in the world market," Russian Helicopters CEO Mikheev said in October.
"The joint venture for local production of Ka-226T is a profoundly new and substantial step in the development of cooperation between India and Russia. The fleet of Russian-made helicopters in India is over 400 units. But this is the first of such large-scale complex agreements for delivery and production of new helicopters in the amount of 200 units, which is fully in line with the Make in India initiative," said Sergei Chemezov, Rostec CEO. "In addition, over the next 5 years there will be facilities set up for maintenance and servicing of the produced helicopters. Therefore the agreement represents not just a contract for production but for full lifecycle support."
Under terms of the intergovernmental agreement, the joint Russian-Indian enterprise created by Russian Helicopters, JSC Rosoboronexport and India's HAL Corporation must arrange the localisation of production and supply of 200 light multirole Ka-226T for 9 years. The first 60 helicopters will be produced in Russia, while production of the remaining 140 helicopters is being planned in India.
In addition to the assembly, the agreement provides for maintenance, operation, repairs and technical support cooperation.