India is set to buy 200 Kamov 226T helicopters in a deal worth $1bn from Russia in order to replace its ageing fleet. The deal is likely to be signed in the coming days as the negotiations are thought to be in the final stages.
According to the Rostec State Corporation, which comprises hundreds of Russian firms, the agreement to manufacture the aircraft in India will be part of a bilateral arrangement between Moscow and New Delhi.
A statement from the corporation said: "The complex agreement to set up a joint production facility of Ka-226T helicopters is expected to be signed at the Brics forum."
The upcoming summit of Brics nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will be held on 15-16 October in Goa.
The preliminary contract was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rostec in December 2015.
The Kamov 226T multipurpose twin-engine helicopters are meant to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak aircraft. These helicopters play a major role in dropping and airlifting Indian soldiers in high-altitude areas. The Russian-made helicopters have a take-off weight of close to four tonnes and can cruise at a maximum speed of 250kms per hour.
"We can offer Russian experience in creating this aircraft, and could consider the possibility of participation both in this project as a whole and in its individual stages from the design stage to after-sales service," Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov told the Economic Times.
Since the 1950s, India has been procuring Russian weapons and arms as a mark of strong military ties between the two countries. The latest deal is likely to be a major addition to the existing arms deals.
"The contract for export and joint production of 200 Ka-226T helicopters is one of the key projects in the framework of trade and industrial relations between Russia and India. We plan to expand them in both military-technical and civilian areas. We are expecting to set up an after-sales service in a profoundly new format. There is an array of other projects, where we see perspectives for mutually beneficial cooperation, which we plan to discuss at the Brics summit," Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, was quoted as saying.