Ministry of Defence has approved Indian Navy’s proposal to acquire 10 Kamov-31 helicopters from Russia. The deal worth Rs.3,600 crore, is a move to strengthen Indian Navies capability against aerial threats to its aircraft carriers and large warships.
- The Kamov-31 helicopters would be deployed on Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers and warships including INS Vikrant and Grigorovich-class frigates.
- Its deployment is largely aimed at sanitising air space around battle groups which are led by aircraft carriers while carrying out defence operations in open sea or anti-submarine warfare operations.
- The decision was taken at Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (DAC is headed by Defence Minister and members includes three service chiefs and defence secretary).
- The Kamov-31 deal is a follow-on order (i.e. not a new order as Indian Navy already has a fleet of 12 of these Kamov-31 choppers) therefore once processed by Navy, it will directly be presented before cabinet committee on security for final approval.
- It is a military helicopter manufactured by ‘JSC Kamov’ (a Russian rotorcraft manufacturing company) and development started in 1987 for Soviet Navy. It is currently in service in Russia, China and India in Naval role. These are Airborne Early Warning and Control helicopters based on Ka-27 (Ka-28) design.
- Need: For anti-submarine warfare operations Indian Navy already has fleet of Russian ‘Kamov-28’ choppers along with ‘Seaking’ choppers which were procured in 1980s but they need to be upgraded for future operations.