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Kamov choppers won’t meet 70% indigenous content requirement, but JV firm sure of deal

The joint venture between state-run HAL and two Russian firms has made a fresh submission to the defence ministry proposing lower indigenisation.

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Lucknow: The much-awaited Indo-Russian joint venture to make the light utility chopper Kamov 226T won’t meet the 70 per cent indigenous content requirement, ThePrint has learnt.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin had announced the deal for 200 Kamov 226T in 2015 as India sought to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak choppers.

The Ministry of Defence will have to take a fresh look at the Request for Proposal (RFP) to either tweak the indigenous content requirement or approve a new techno-commercial proposal submitted by Indo-Russian Helicopters Ltd (IRGL), according to sources.

IRGL is a joint venture between state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and two Russian firms, Russian Helicopters and Rosoboronexport. In a fresh submission to the ministry, it has proposed lower indigenisation.

Under the original RFP, there is a requirement of 70 per cent indigenisation of Russian content — which stands at 74 per cent — in the lightweight military helicopters.

Also read: UP DefExpo gaffe — Turkish helicopter for Pakistan on posters showcasing Make in India

IRGL confident of deal

Speaking on the sidelines of the DefenceExpo 2020 in Lucknow, IRGL chief executive M.N. Srinath said the company has submitted a detailed proposal to the Defence Ministry.

According to the submitted proposal, in phase one 60 helicopters will come in fly away condition from Russia and 35 would be manufactured in India with 3.3 per cent indigenisation of the original Russian content.

Under phase 2, 25 helicopters will be manufactured in India with 15 per cent indigenisation. This will increase to 35 per cent in phase 3 under which 30 helicopters will be manufactured.

Only in phase 4 will India achieve 62.41 per cent of indigenisation to build 50 Kamov 226T helicopters.

“We have submitted our techno-commercial bid. There was a clarification needed by the MoD on the indigenisation content and we have submitted our proposal. The MoD will now take it up in the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council,” Srinath said.

The IRGL CEO expressed confidence that the defence ministry will accept the proposal paving the way for eventual contract that has been pending for five years.

According to the timeline, deliveries of the choppers will begin 24 months from contract signing and the first India-made chopper will roll out 36 months after the signing date.

The proposed manufacturing facilities in Karnataka’s Tumkur are in the process of construction, added Srinath.

The first India-made helicopters were to be delivered by 2021 under the deal. This was delayed by several years as differences cropped up over pricing and indigenisation.

Modi and Putin had signed the deal in 2015 to cater to the needs of the Army and the Indian Air Force. It was the Modi government’s first Government to Government deal.

Also read: Only 1.82% hike in defence budget could hurt military acquisition & modernisation plans


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