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An Indo-Russia joint venture is likely to sign a contract with the Indian government early next year for the supply of 200 Kamov lightweight multi-role military helicopters to the armed forces under a $1 billion deal. Various aspects of the project to supply the Kamov-226T helicopters were discussed on Monday during a meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and CEO of Russian Helicopters Andrei Boginsky. "We discussed all aspects of the Ka-226T project. (It was) agreed that the contract should be signed in the beginning of 2018," Boginsky said. In October last year, India and Russia had finalised a broad agreement to set up a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and two Russian defence majors -- Russian Helicopters and Rosoboronexport. The joint venture will produce the Kamov helicopters.
India is procuring Kamov choppers to replace its ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. The JV was registered in India earlier this year. As part of the inter-governmental agreement, 'Russian Helicopters' along with Rosoboronexport will supply and localise production of the Ka-226T helicopters in India. Boginsky said the possibility of supplying 111 multipurpose helicopters to the Indian Navy by the JV was also discussed in his meeting with the defence minister. As per official sources, 60 Kamov-226T helicopters will be supplied to India in fly-away condition, while 140 will be manufactured in India. The inter-government agreement for the deal was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia in December 2015.