Navy to consider new ship-borne Kamov-226T helicopters - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 13 April 2018

Navy to consider new ship-borne Kamov-226T helicopters

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 14th Apr 18

Of the 146 foreign arms vendors attending Defexpo 2018 in Chennai, Russian Helicopters, which builds the iconic, dual-rotor Kamov helicopters, is amongst the few with an assured major order.  In 2015, on Vladimir Putin’s personal request, Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to buy 200 Kamov-226T utility helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and army without competitive tendering.

Moscow and New Delhi have agreed that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) would manufacture the Kamov-226T with technology transferred by Russian Helicopters. The two signed a shareholders agreement in October 2016, granting a 50.5 per cent majority stake for HAL, and 49.5 per cent for Russian Helicopters. Now Russian Helicopters is pitching to score another billion-dollar home run by winning the navy’s tender for 111 “naval utility helicopters” (NUH).

With at least 140 Kamov-226T to be built in India (the other 60 are being supplied from Russia fully built), Russian Helicopters believes it can offer a compelling commercial deal for building an additional 111 as India’s NUH requirement.

“A delegation from the Indian MoD (defence ministry) is to visit Kamov Design Bureau… in order to participate in the demonstration flight of a light utility Ka-226T rotorcraft and to familiarize themselves with its ship-based version”, a Russian Helicopters press release stated on Thursday.

In October 2017, the defence ministry gave its nod to commence the procurement of 111 NUHs. In December, the navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba revealed that five global “original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs) had conveyed interest in the navy acquisition that is being pursued under the “strategic partner” (SP) model of the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2016 (DPP-2016). This requires an Indian company, specifically selected by the defence ministry, to manufacture the helicopter in India with technology transferred by the chosen OEM.

However, with the defence ministry still deliberating whether public sector firms like HAL are eligible to be nominated an SP, there is the illogical possibility that HAL manufactures the air force and army Kamov-226T choppers, while a private sector SP builds the 111 Kamov-226Ts being procured under the NUH tender.

“This dichotomy will only be resolved when the SP policy is finalised and implemented”, said a source in the defence ministry.

Unlike the standard, land-based Kamov-226T helicopter, a ship-based version is required to have special “foldable” main rotor blades, which allows the chopper to be housed in a small hangar on the ship’s deck. Further, a ship-based NUH is required to operate in the challenging maritime environment, where it must be able to land on the pitching deck of a moving ship and carry out missions like search and rescue, medical evacuation and combat missions in anti-piracy and anti-terrorism operations.

“The ship-based configuration of Ka-226T helicopter has already been developed and successfully operated in Russia for special purpose aviation since 2017”, said an official Russian Helicopters release at Defexpo 2018.

The Kamov-226T has already received certification for its “folding blade system”, for operating at ambient temperatures of over 50 degrees Centigrade, and for medical evacuation usage, says Russian Helicopters.

While western-origin fighter aircraft are eroding Russia’s pre-eminence as a supplier to India, Russian Helicopters has remained dominant in several rotocraft categories, since the 1950s. There are currently 400 Russian-made helicopters in India’s military, including a large Mi-17 medium lift fleet, and three Kamov types with the navy – the Kamov-25, Kamov-28 and Kamov-31. 


    Is the military hardware being offered to India by Western Countries over Hyped. Do we buy from Putin without competitive tendering, Broadswords blog makes us all think. We must look at what was claimed by the West and the actual performance of their expensive hardware they try their best to impress us at these defense shows.
    USAF's B-1Bs used AGM-158B JASSM-ER cruise missile for first time in combat during airstrikes against Syria a few hours ago.
    The above are the smart missiles that Trump mentioned.
    Russian military says Syrian air defence systems intercepted 71 out of 103 cruise missiles according to AFP, but this could be a gross exaggeration.
    The Syrian AD Forces used the following systems to engage the missiles:
    AA guns
    Will be interesting to know which of the above weapons Syria deployed proved most effective.
    By not providing the Syrians with the S400 AD system, has Russia has missed the chance to showcase the weapon it wishes to export to the world?
    Four British aged Tornado GR4 Aircraft fired storm shadow missiles from outside Syrian Airspace probably to avoid Syrian AD. They proved the least effective as minimal damage from the target 24km West of Homs. As Russian reports claim all British missiles were locked and shot down, jammed by Russian provided electronic WS.
    French Air Force's Rafale Bs flying from Jordon/directly from France, launched SCALP-EG cruise missiles from a distance.
    It will be interesting to know which of the missiles listed below were shot down most easily.
    Storm Shadow,
    BGM-109 & JASSM-ER
    Wish Broadsword will give more of his valued opinion and wisdom on the sorry state of our Armed Forces, rather than straight neutral reporting, in his excellent blog,

  2. This is good. There is factory planned for this copter already. Will save on capex, service , training .

  3. Of the 146 foreign arms vendors attending Defexpo 2018 in Chennai, Russian Helicopters, which builds the iconic, dual-rotor Kamov helicopters, is amongst the few with an assured major order.
    How is that Ajai? An intergovernmental agreement is not a contract merely a MOU. By all accounts, the Kamov deal is stuck in red tape (never mind the land allotment at Tumkur). I'd also argue that of all the other IGAs (FGFA, Frigates, S-400), the Kamov deal is the least deserving. As has been reported, Russia cannot offer a lot under Make-in-India since 226T itself is reliant heavily on non-Russian components, most notably the French engines. Meanwhile, HAL itself is on the cusp of pushing a competing product, the LUH (also using French engines), into Production this year. Unless the Russians have offered TOT for coaxial rotors (no indication of that so far), the Kamov deal is not worth the effort.

  4. The key component is counter rotating blades and for this a special transmission needs to be built. Take some collaboration and why can the Indian company building transmission built a transmission and built a small helicopter with counter raotating blades which are foldable. There has to be a container attached to the back of helicopter which can be detached can be done by HAL with help of private suppliers. HAL has done remarkly well in helicopter section and I feel they should make it on their own without any partnership.



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