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India approves tech configuration of Kamov helicopters: Russian official

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THIRUVIDANTHAI, TAMIL NADU (PTI): India has approved the technical configuration of the Kamov light-weight multi-role military helicopters which will be supplied to Indian armed forces by an Indo-Russian joint venture, a senior Russian official has said.

In October 2016, India and Russia had finalised a broad agreement for the joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and two Russian defence majors. India is procuring 200 Kamov Ka-226T choppers to replace its ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

The agreement for the Kamov choppers was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia in December 2015.

The Indian side approved the technical configuration of the light utility Ka-226T helicopter developed by Russian Helicopters Holding Company to be assembled by Joint Venture Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited in India, CEO of Russian Helicopters Andrey Boginskiy said.

He was speaking to reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of Defence Expo, a biennial exhibition of weapons and military platforms.

Boginskiy said a production facility will be set up in India to assemble the helicopters.

India's Defence Ministry has already approved the payment for setting up of the JV. A site in the vicinity of Tumkur near Bangaluru has been identified.

Approval of helicopter configuration to be delivered and assembled in India means that the technical aspects of the project have been finalised. We and our Indian partners shall commence the preparation of contractual documents in the near future, he said.

Boginskiy said the Ka-226T helicopter, featuring a coaxial main rotor system, with maximum take-off weight of 3.6 tons, is capable of transporting up to one ton of payload.

Ka-226T may be equipped with a transport cabin, which allows transporting up to 6 people, or modules fitted with special equipment. Improved flight performance of Ka-226T helicopter, environmental friendliness, cost effectiveness, state-of-the-art avionics suite and additional flight safety solutions make this helicopter one of the best in its class, he said.

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