Panaji, March 29 (IANS) Russian Helicopters is close to signing a long-term maintenance agreement with India’s Defence Ministry to provide after sales service for the entire fleet of Mi-17 helicopters, said the foreign firm.
The agreement will be for the entire life cycle of the fleet and marks a shift from the earlier approach to the provision of after sales support, said a statement issued here on Tuesday by Rostec, a Russian government-run defence corporation that owns Russian Helicopters.
Rostec is an exhibitor in the ongoing Defence Expo 2016 in South Goa’s Betul village.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) received in January the last three helicopters out of a total order of 48 Russian Mi-17 helicopters.
“These are exciting times for India’s defence industry as Asia’s geopolitics increasingly take shape around India. This has led to India’s defence services focus even more strongly on modernisation and expansion,” Sergei Chemezov, chief executive officer of Rostec, was quoted as saying.
“Within that ambit we plan to sign a contract that will lay the foundation for a new era of after sales collaboration between Russian Helicopters and India. This is now being discussed with the Air Force, Navy and border patrol troops of India,” Chemezov said.
According to the preliminary agreement, Russian Helicopters will provide for repairs of the Mi-17 fleet and also supply spares throughout the entire life cycle of the helicopters.
Repairs of helicopters operated in India will be carried out by enterprises that are part of Russian Helicopters.
The current contract life cycle was expected to be three to five years, Chemezov said.
At Defence Expo 2016, Rostec is also expected to showcase Verna, one of the world’s most man-portable air defence missile system (MANPADS), for the first time out of Russia.
“This initiates the active promotion of Verna in the international markets,” the statement said.
The mobile unit is made in the form of an army backpack, which in a matter of minutes can be turned into a full-fledged workstation and can track air targets with the help of data from external radars, target acquisition, etc.