Sunday, July 11, 2021

Indian Army Pushes Govt On ‘Urgent’ Acquisition Of Russian Ka-226 Helicopters

Indian Army is looking to fast-track the acquisition of the Russian Ka-226-T helicopters amid border tensions with China in Ladakh.

With the older Chetak and Cheetah helicopters at the fag-end of their technical life, India’s chopper arsenal needs urgent upgradation.

The Indian armed forces are set to request the government to acquire “a minimum inescapable quantity” of the Russian Kamov-226-T helicopters in a fly-away condition, reported The Times of India.

The single-engine Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are in a dire need of replacement. Officials told the Indian daily that operational availability of Cheetahs/Chetaks along the northern borders with China and the Siachen glacier-Saltoro Ridge region with Pakistan is down to just 50%.

The said technical life of these choppers will probably last until 2023. And hence, the forces desperately need new helicopters.

The Indian armed forces have been pushing for the acquisition of new light utility helicopters (LUHs) for the past two decades. In 2015, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with Russia for the acquisition of 200 Kamov Ka-226-T helicopters worth $1billion.

Out of the total 200 helicopters, 60 were to be imported directly while the remaining were to be manufactured indigenously at a joint facility at Tumakuru in Karnataka.

However, the acquisition is still stuck due to disagreements on the indigenous content, as The EurAsian Times had earlier reported. The homegrown equipment to be manufactured is between 27 to 33 percent, under the full Transfer of Technology (ToT).

11/07/21 Anupama Ghosh/EruAsianTimes

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