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Russia offers co-development of gunship to India

Russia is set to unroll its new high-altitude light helicopter gunships and offers its co-development to India as a package deal.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2007 11:16 IST

Russia is set to unroll its new high-altitude light helicopter gunships and has offered its co-development to India as a package deal, which could also forsee cooperation in building 10-tonne-class choppers.

The offer comes as the country is also ready to unveil its new Kamaov-60 and next generation 10-tonne-class MI helicopters, which can be used as heavy lift troop carriers.

"We know Indian Air Force's urgent requirements for 10-ton-class helicopters and we have conveyed our readiness for joint development through establishment of joint holding company," said Givi Dzhandzhgava, Director General of the Ramenskoi Design company.

"The Kamaov group by end of this year expects to roll out its new KA-52 helicopter gunships which can be used at altitudes exceeding 5,000 to 6,000 metres," Dzhandzhgava said.

India has desperately been seeking to induct light helicopter gunships for use in mountainous terrain following its experiences in the Kargil conflict when absence of such firepower forced it to use fighters firing missiles from stand off distance.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has been conducting trials on light helicopter gunships by modifying the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters and indigenous Advance Light Helicopters.

Citing Indo-Russian joint programme to develop Brahmos cruise missiles, the Russian Chief Designer said that on the same pattern, two countries could set up a joint venture on helicopters.

"There is market for such 10-tonne-class helicopters and light helicopter gunships in third countries and it would be ideal if the two countries would venture to set up a joint strategic air transport company," he said.

The Russian designers say that they aim to make presentations of the ventures to India during the forthcoming Aero India show to be held in Bangalore from February 6.

"India is ideal for such projects," Russian experts said, maintaining that military development of India was in Moscow's national interest.

The experts have also called upon the government to make competitive offer to India on air-launched weapons as well as transfer of technology on airborne active phased radars, saying it would create the confidence in development of strategic weapons projects.

First Published: Jan 28, 2007 11:16 IST