Analysis: Ka-226T Preparing To Land In India

Despite the slow progress of the Russian Helicopters Ka-226T India-Russia deal, it is set to be signed at last in the first quarter of this year.

Andrey Boginsky, director general of Russian Helicopters, said that all details of the contract for delivery of 200 Kamov Ka-226T light utility helicopters to the Indian MoD were expected to be finally agreed between the parties by mid-December 2017 but this is still yet to be confirmed.

In May 2015, the 3.6t Ka-226T was selected as the winner in the protracted and hotly contested tender of the Indian MoD which outlined the replacement of its existing fleet of HAL Chetak and Cheetah aircraft.

The seller is Russia’s arms export agency, Rosobornexport, and the total price of the contract will exceed US$1 billion. One hundred and forty of these helicopters will be produced locally under the wide-ranging Make in India initiative by the Indian-Russian joint-venture company while the initial 60 will be built in Russia, at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (U-UAP) in eastern Siberia.

The main contractor for the Ka-226T production in India will be the joint venture company established between Russian Helicopters and Indian aerospace company HAL in May 2017. It was eventually agreed between the partners that Russian Helicopters will hold a 49.5% stake in the joint venture, while Indian company HAL will take the remaining 50.5%.

In addition to the helicopter production, the joint venture will also deal with the MRO of the delivered helicopters in addition to the provision of training services. Currently, both Kamov and U-UAP are busy with the preparation of the Ka-226T aircraft production process for India using the civil-certified Ka-226T design as a baseline.

It comes powered by two Safran Helicopter Engines Arrius 2G1, de-rated to 580shp in one engine inoperative mode to provide considerable enhanced performance in hot and high conditions, enabling operations at an elevation of up to 2,500m above sea level without affecting performance. The Ka-226T also features the UKBP KBO-226 flight/navigation suite with multi-functional colour displays and is provided with NVG compatible cockpit and exterior lighting.

The Ka-226T’s enhanced and militarised derivative, tailor-designed to meet the Indian MoD requirements is designated as the 226.54.

The helicopter uses an extensively redesigned baseline model and is set to be built by widely-using the new digital technologies. To make it possible, Kamov has developed an all-new 3D digital design model for the 226.54 by using the Dassault Systems CATIA V5 software for computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing and computer-aided engineering.

This digital model is being used at the U-UAP’s design department for the designing of the tooling to be used for helicopter assembly and also for the fabrications of parts on numerically-controlled milling machines. U-UAP will produce the forward section (including the cockpit), the middle section and the twin-boom/twin-fin tail section.

The rotor column and blades will be produced in Russia at the Kumertau-based KumAPE plant, which is currently dealing with the small-scale Ka-226T production for Russian government customers.

This novel approach would speed up the production preparation phase and also would allow a significant reduction of the man-hours needed for the production process of helicopter parts and the necessary tooling.

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