India’s Ministry of Defense is concluding negotiations with Russia to bring 48 additional Mi-17-V5 military transport/utility helicopters under its control. The price of the deal is $1.1 billion, and they will become part of the hardware of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Jane’s reported that undisclosed official sources, on July 23rd, said that the deal for the twin-engine helicopters is most likely to be signed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in early October 2018 for the annual bilateral meeting between India and Russia’s leaders.
The suggested deal also includes an offset obligation. It requires all vendors to invest 30% of the overall contractual value of all military purchases over $290 million into India’s defence, internal security and aviation.
Of the 48 helicopters, 38 will go to the IAF, while the remaining 10 are to be used by the MHA. The Mi-17-V5 are to supplement the fleet of 151 similar platforms that India has purchased between 2008 and 2016.
As of July 14th, Rosoboronexport, a company of Rostec State corporation has fulfilled its contract to deliver a total of 151 units of Mi-17-V5 helicopters to India, all of which were produced by the Kazan Helicopter Plant, part of Russian Helicopters company, as reported by the Economic Times.
General Director of the holding company Russian Helicopters Alexander Mikheyev said: “India is one of the key markets for ‘Russian Helicopters’ and the largest operator of Russian helicopters in southeast Asia. Today, more than 400 vehicles are operating in the country.”
The supplied Mi-17-V5 are of the most advanced helicopters of the Mi-8/17 type, they are supplied with complex navigation and a KNEI-8 electronics display. They are also equipped with powerful modern engines, which significantly extends transport capabilities of heavy and bulky loads, the Economic Times reported.
The Economic Times also reported that in December 2017, Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to production of 200 Russian light multipurpose helicopters Ka-226T in India. The agreement also includes maintenance, operation and repair of helicopters and provision of technical support. An article by the Economic Times quotes Viktor Kladov, Head, International Cooperation of Rostec as saying that France, which provides the engines for the helicopters has also shown interest for technology transfer. His exact words were: “A number of technical discussions will take place and I hope that before the end of this year, work will start. The chopper utilized the best technologies available globally, including the French engines. We have had negotiations with our French partners and are satisfied are on board.”
Furthermore, the Economic Times reported that India is one of Russia’s largest operators of Russian equipment. Russian Helicopters has so far supplied 110 units of the Mi-4, 128 units of the Mi-8 and about 160 units of the Mi-17 type.
It is also noteworthy that India and Russia are also in advanced negotiations for the purchase of five regiments of S-400 Triumf advanced air defense systems, regardless of the possible US sanctions. The supposed contract value, as reported by the Diplomat is around $5.5 billion.
According to an article by Defense News of May 29th, India and Russia have pledged to create a joint plan to deal with US sanctions on Russia, which attempt to hamper deals between New Delhi and Moscow. However the press conference after the meeting in Sochi between Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday had no confirmation of the information provided by Defense News.