Hello defence lovers! In this article, we are going to discuss why the Indian Army needs the Kamov Ka 226 helicopters despite many indigenous options available? Are our systems not at par with their Russian counterparts or there are some hidden agendae? Let us find out all these in this article.
Kamov Ka-226 was seen as an option to replace the aging fleet of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. Currently, India and Russia are still in the negotiation phase for a deal of 200 Ka 226 helicopters (135 for the Army and 65 for the airforce) which will cost a billion dollars. The deal is expected to be signed very soon once the issue of local production, indigenisation, and price of helicopters is sorted out.
Technical Specification of Kamov Ka 226
- Crew: 1-2
- Passengers: 7
- Cargo: 1,050 kg internally, or 1,100 kg on an external sling
- Length: 8.1 m (25 ft 7 in)
- Height: 4.15 m (13 ft 7 in)
- Gross weight: 3,800 kg (8,379 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Arrius 2G1 , 435 kW (580 hp) each
- Main rotor diameter: 2× 13 m (42 ft 8 in)
- Maximum speed: 250 km/h (155 mph, 135 kn)
- Cruise speed: 220 km/h (137 mph, 119 kn)
- Range: 600 km (373 mi, 324 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 6,200 m (20,300 ft)
- Hover ceiling: (4600 m, 15,000 ft)
Earlier a lot of defence equipment was imported from Russia but recently India is emerging as a self-reliant and self-sufficient nation in terms of defence. As per capabilities are concerned our indigenously developed ALH Druv is a worthy competitor and alternative of Kamov ka 226. As far as the requirements are concerned the indigenous Light Utility Helicopter LUH suits the requirement well. The Chetak and Cheetah fleets are very crucial for supplying our troops at high altitudes in the Himalayas especially in the Siachen glacier. Our Indigenous platforms are quite capable of performing that task.
Kamov Ka 226 Vs ALH Druv
|Kamov Ka 226 T||ALH Druv (MK-III)|
|Service Ceiling||6,200 m (20,300 ft)||6,100 m (20,000 ft)|
|Range||600 km (373 mi, 324 nmi)||630 km (390 mi, 340 nmi)|
|Payload||1,050 kg internally, or 1,100 kg on an external sling||1,500 kg (3,300 lbs) underslung|
The Statistics show that ALH Druv is superior to Kamov Ka 226. Moreover Indian Airforce, Army, Navy and coastguard already operate the ALH Druv in large numbers. Purchasing additional 200 Druvs will take the production cost even below. No additional money has to be spent on developing infrastructure for maintenance, logistics and training of pilots. ALH Druv comes with great versatility. The weaponised version of ALH called Rudra can be used for providing close air support which Kamov ka 226 cannot. Thus there is no point in purchasing a helicopter with inferior capabilities from an foreign country at a higher cost just for the sake of maintaing good relations.
The Russian Lobbyists
The Kamov deal is definitely a result of Russian lobbying as the indigenous options are far better. Russia hasn’t sold any aircraft to India for a very long time. Earlier Indian Airforce used to be one of the largest customers of the Russian Aviation industry. But with Changing times India has become self-reliant and has gained access to much more reliable western equipment. Moreover, the KGB’s influence which earlier made decisions in favour of Soviet Equipment, has almost vanished. Thus this Kamov deal becomes very crucial for Russia’s aviation Industry. Hence the lobbyists are trying their best to get it signed.
Thus this Kamov deal must be scrapped and additional ALH Druvs must be purchased. If the government decides to go with Kamov, then the Indigenous LUH will face a negative impact. Importing Kamov is just like purchasing F 16 or Grippen instead of Tejas. As Airforce as shown its support for the Indigenous platforms, the army must also follow the same. We must promote the products of our budding aviation Industry.