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Russian Kamov choppers to replace ageing Cheetah, Chetak

Russia’s Rostech State Corporation has tied up with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for manufacture of at least 200 Kamov 226T light helicopters to replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak, in a deal estimated to be worth $1 billion under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

During the recent visit of PM Narendra Modi to Moscow, an agreement was signed between the two countries on cooperation in the field of helicopter manufacturing. Defence Ministry had in August last year scrapped a scam-tainted tender worth over Rs 6,000 crore to procure 197 light utility helicopters for army and air force to replace the fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers, which are used to move troops and equipment to high-altitude locations like Siachen.

A group of army officers wives had in March this year urged the Defence Minister to stop the use of “outdated” Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which have claimed a number of lives in mishaps. In a report submitted to Parliament recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said that out of the 181 Cheetah/Chetak helicopters held by the Army, 51 were 40 years or older and 78 were between 30-40 years old.

This is the first Russian-Indian high-tech project implemented by the Indian government within the framework of the ‘Make in India’ programme. According to the document, Rostech will organize in India the production of Russian Ka-226T and its modifications in the amount of not less than 200 units.
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