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The CEO of Russian Helicopters today said the India-Russia joint venture contract for production of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters for the Indian armed forces is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2018.
"Yes, I had mentioned in interviews (earlier) that we expect the contract to be signed by the end of 2017. Because in our opinion the Russians had waited for all the necessary work that would be needed for the contract," Andrey Boginisky told a visiting foreign media delegation here.
"We had a dialogue with the Indian minister for defence on the requirements and characteristics for the helicopters that are desired to be supplied. In my opinion, we are in the final stage of approving these parameters and I only hope and expect this agreement to be signed by the Q1 of 2018 because we understand it is unrealistic for it to be signed this year," he said.
On the possibility of exporting the helicopters to other countries in future, Boginisky said, "We don't exclude this possibility".
"But in this project, helicopters will be supplied to meet the requirements of the ministry of defence (India)," he said, adding that it can be discussed in future as the present agreement is between the two countries.
Under the Indo-Russia joint venture to produce 200 Kamov 226T helicopters, 60 of the choppers will be supplied to India in fly-away condition, while 140 will be manufactured in India under a USD 1 billion deal inked in 2015.
In October last year, India and Russia finalised a broad agreement for the JV between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and two Russian defence majors.
India is procuring Kamov choppers to replace its ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
The agreement for the Kamov choppers was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia in December, 2015.
In October last year, Russian Helicopters, Rosoboronexport and India's HAL Corp had almost completed the formalities for the joint venture to localise the production of Ka-226Ts and deliver them to the Indian market. The joint venture was registered in May this year.
According to Russian Helicopter officials, Ka-226T is the pilot project on creation and production of helicopters through digital technology.
It has allowed reduction by half of risks and costs to the development of the helicopter as well as to changes for future upgrades.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)