NEW DELHI — India and Russia are to announce a joint venture agreement to produce the Ka-226T light utility helicopter on Oct. 15, the first day of this weekend's meeting in Goa, India, of the association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as BRICS.

Senior officials with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) provided some details on the matter, however senior diplomats with the Russian Embassy here remained tight-lipped about the inner workings of the deal.

Senior MoD officials confirmed that India and Russia will sign a shareholders agreement for the joint venture (JV) in manufacturing K-226T helicopters in India. Under the agreement, slated to be inked during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit during the BRICS meeting, Indian state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will own 50.5 percent equity stake, and Russian Helicopters and Rosoboronexport will hold the remaining 49.5 percent equity.

India will acquire 200 of the light utility helicopters (LUH), out of which it will buy 60 helicopters in fly-away condition from Russia while another 40 will be assembled in India and the remaining 100 will be fully built in India, said an MoD official.

The 200-count delivery of Ka-226Ts will be completed in nine years, and the JV will call for an India-based maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for the helos.

The Ka-226Ts are to replace the aging Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by the Indian Army and Air Force.

In an interview with The Economic Times, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said of the JV documents that Russia is "planning to sign them during the India-Russia and BRICS Summits on October 15-16 in Goa."

India and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding in 2015 to jointly produce the Ka-226T after the ruling Modi government in 2014 canceled a global tender from 2009 to purchase LUHs. The Eurofighter Typhoon, backed by the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, and Kamov of Russia were in the race then.

The other deals between India and Russia that are awaiting finalization include the acquisition of a second nuclear submarine by the Indian Navy and the purchase of four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates, which could involve the direct supply of two vessels from Russia while another two would be made in India.

Additionally, India and Russia are struggling to reach a final agreement on co-development and co-production of fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).

MoD officials would neither confirm nor deny whether the long-pending final agreement to produce FGFA would be inked, and whether there would be an agreement on the purchase of five S-400 air defense units and the leasing of the additional nuclear sub. 


Last year, the MoD cleared the purchase of Russian-built S-400 Triumf air defense systems at a cost of more than $5 billion, but Russia has "not been responding to India's request" for the units, according to a source within the MoD.

The development of a smaller version of the BrahMos cruise missile with ground, sea and air application is another defense project that India and Russia have been negotiating for more than two years, but officials here would not say anything about the fate of this project.