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Important Facts For Prelims

Kamov-226T : Utility Helicopters

  • 26 Dec 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The Indian Army is going to approach the Defence Ministry for a waiver to take the Kamov-226T (Ka-226T) utility helicopters with Russia.

  • In 2015, India and Russia concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 200 Ka-226T helicopters estimated to cost over USD 1 billion.
  • The Kamov-226T is meant to replace the ageing and obsolete Cheetah and Chetak fleets of the Indian Army and the Air Force.

Key Points

  • About Kamov-226T helicopter:
    • Design: The Ka-226T is a design of Russia's famed Kamov design bureau.
    • Assembling: A joint venture India Russia Helicopters Limited (IRHL) has been set up between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russian Helicopters (RH) which will assemble the helicopters in India.
    • Payload Capacity:
      • It is a light helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of over 3.5 tonnes and can carry a payload of up to 1 tonne.
    • Special Features:
      • The Ka-226T uses coaxial rotors, that is, it has two sets of rotors mounted one on top of the other and typically no tail rotor.
        • Coaxial rotors give a helicopter improvements in lift and payload capacity over conventional choppers.
        • This is especially advantageous in high-altitude environments where an aircraft's performance at take-off tends to diminish due to the lower air density.
      • The Ka-226T also has a unique, detachable 'mission' compartment instead of a conventional cabin.
        • This allows the helicopter to be adapted for different roles such as surveillance and cargo delivery.
  • Issues with the Old Fleet of Helicopters:
    • About 75% of the Army’s fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters is over 30 years old. Some of them are about 50 years old and they need urgent replacements.
      • Operational capability has been impacted due to deficiencies and non-availability of replacement.
  • Requirement of Helicopters in Indian Army: There is a requirement of around 400 such helicopters in the army.

Source: TH

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