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Russia has potentially revived its bid for India’s Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program with a modified proposal. This comes after negotiations for the Ka-226T helicopter stalled due to engine localization issues.

Russia’s recent successful test of the VK-650V turboshaft engine prototype might be a game-changer. This indigenously developed 650-750 horsepower engine is designed to replace engines like the French Safran sourced powerplant that previously hindered the Ka-226T’s localization efforts in India.

The VK-650V’s introduction specifically targets the earlier roadblock of achieving a 70% localization level for the Ka-226T project. The French Twin Turbomeca Arrius 2G1 engine couldn’t be sufficiently localized under the previous Technology Transfer (ToT) terms.

India’s armed forces, including the Air Force, Army, and Navy, require replacements for their ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, acquired in the 1960s. The LUH program aims to fulfill this critical need, with initial plans anticipating an 400 order split between the Ka-226T and the indigenously developed LUH.

During Aero India 2023, officials from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) told idrw team that company is ready to begin work on the both LUH and Ka-226T program as soon as it receives approval. They also emphasized the absence of any conflict of interest between Russia and India regarding the Ka-226T joint production program. had explained in previous reports that, both LUH and Ka-226T might be in same class of Light Helicopters but Ka-226T is a Twin-engined Light Helicopter that brings additional safety for operations in Higher altitudes while LUH is a single-engined Helicopter designed to compliment each other in area of operations.

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