According to the Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, India and Russia are ready to build around 200 helicopters together.
A deal has been struck for the co-production of 200 KA-226 helicopters, Manturov said Tuesday. The KA-226 is a light multirole helicopter known to NATO as the Hoodlum, according to Sputnik News.
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New helicopter co-production deal announced between Moscow and New Delhi
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in December 2014 and made a preliminary agreement. Now the final deal has been made for the construction of the KA-226, which is designed to transport both cargo and passengers to hard-to-reach areas.
“India is ready for joint cooperation of this modification [Ka-226T] of the helicopter in terms of co-production in India in an amount of at least about 200 units,” Manturov told Rossiya-24 TV channel.
The helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 4,000 tons and is adapted for rescue and patrol operations. It is part of the continued close relationship between India and Russia in defense matters.
India presses ahead with fighter plane acquisitions
It was also recently announced that India will purchase Su-30MKI aircraft, which is developed in Russia, as well as Indian-made TejasMK-II planes. Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha revealed that the Indian Air Force would also receive French-built Rafale fighters as part of its modernization program.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande signed a deal which will see 36 Rafale fighters provided to India. The Indian Air Force currently retains a a fleet of Mig-27 ML fighter jets, but they will soon be retired from service due to a lack of recent upgrades.
New Delhi continues to acquire military hardware at a rapid rate and plans to form a number of additional fighter squadrons in the future. “We are looking forward to receiving the Rafales. Apart from this, there are other aircraft we are looking at. We will also be getting more Su-30MKIs. An order has also been placed for 120 Tejas Mk-IIs. There are many plans and things will change in the next 10-12 years,” Raha said on Sunday.
Joint India-Russia missile to be launched from fighter jet
One major advance for the Indian Air Force will be the capability to launch the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Su-30MKI fighter. The missile, which has been jointly developed by India and Russia, will be fitted to specially-adapted SU-30MKI, providing the Indian Air Force with a powerful weapon without damaging the aircraft.
“HAL has taken up the integration of BrahMos missile on Su-30 MKI aircraft and this is the first time in the world that such a heavy weight (3000 kg) supersonic cruise missile is being integrated on a fighter aircraft,” T Suvarna Raju, CMD of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Scientists continue to work on the next-generation hypersonic missile, which would represent a significant advance. “Efforts are on to increase the speed of the missile to hypersonic levels around Mach 6.0 to further enhance its versatility,” says BrahMos Aerospace.
Military-technical cooperation continues to grow
Russia and India enjoy a close relationship on defense, and a number of other deals are also in the pipeline. At a meeting in early November, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu discussed the sale of S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems and the leasing of a second nuclear-powered submarine.
Indian PM Modi is scheduled to meet Vladimir Putin at a summit in Moscow in December, where a number of agreements on military-technical cooperation are expected to be signed. Russia is coming under pressure from Western sanctions designed to depress its arms sales and is therefore pushing ahead with agreements with India.
The ongoing economic decline in Russia means that the country is increasingly reliant on arms exports to keep its economy afloat. Moscow is in the midst of negotiating a number of deals with both India and Pakistan.
New Delhi and Islamabad continue to suffer a fraught relationship which leads to frequent skirmishes along the disputed Kashmir border. Both nations are investing in modernizing their armed forces, raising fears of an arms race between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
While Pakistan traditionally enjoys a close relationship with China, it is also becoming increasingly involved with India’s traditional ally, Russia. The geopolitical situation remains tense and relationships between major regional powers are complicated by historic rivalries.
The creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was designed to reduce tensions between member states, but so far there has been little progress in promoting integration. If old enmities can be put aside we could see a new era of prosperity.