Anil Ambani group to make Kamov 226T choppers with Russian manufacturers

Reliance Anil Ambani Group (RDAG) is in the process of investing thousands of crores of rupees in defence manufacturing in the country. The infrastructure group will now be making a Rs6,500-crore investment in defence and aerospace equipment business at Nagpur.

Kamov 226Twill retire the Chetak-Cheetah fleet

Reliance Defence will invest Rs6,500 crore at the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN), which will be used to manufacture 197 Kamov 226T choppers, under a `Make in India' deal with Russian manufacturers.

Under the Russian deal, one of the largest under the "Make in India" programme, RDAG will be making 197 Kamov 226T choppers that would help retire the Chetak-Cheetah fleet that has been used for frontline operations for over 30 years, especially in difficult terrain like Siachen.

This is the second project that the Russian government has awarded to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group after the Pipavav deal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had pushed for the Ka-226T deal during the summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here last December. Upon agreeing to make these choppers in India, Russia was offered an initial deal for 200 of these helicopters with the potential for another 400.

In May, the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by defence minister Manohar Parrikar cleared the proposal.

Now, after extensive talks, the Russian government has communicated to New Delhi that it will be implementing the project in a joint venture with an Indian company - and that the partner so chosen is Reliance Helicopters. It also involves transfer of technology, sources said.

The Anil Ambani Group through its newly-formed subsidiary, Reliance Defence Ltd, has acquired 289 acres of land at the MIHAN project for manufacturing of helicopters and other defence equipment.

The MIHAN project is spread over 4,300 hectares, comprising an airport, SEZ area, residential and commercial and other SEZ related facilities.

The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), which manages the MIHAN project, will formally hand over the Letter of Allotment to Reliance Defence Ltd at a special function in the evening today.

The land, which costs about Rs200 crore, has been allocated in sector 9 and 11, which is closer to the airport.

The investment is expected to create about 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Earlier this month, Pipavav Defence, a part of the Reliance Group, was selected by Zvyozdochka Shipyard of Russia for the refit of 24 EKM 877 submarines in India, in a deal potentially worth Rs30,000 crore.

Pipavav Defence was also, earlier this year, selected by United Shipbuilding Company of Russia for the manufacture of four Talwar-class frigates.

The company is also said to be a strong contender to build six advanced submarines for the navy, along with five other firms, for which the Indian government is expected to float a request for proposal soon. This deal is potentially worth Rs60,000 crore.