India has scrapped a planned procurement of 48 Russian Mi-17 V5 helicopters in favor of local production, India Today revealed, citing sources.
The outlet underlined that the decision was made before the war broke out in Ukraine and is not connected with it.
However, Indian publication Economic Times reported earlier that there were concerns in India that the war would have a “medium to long term” impact on the aircraft’s maintenance, as most of its “key engine parts” are sourced from Ukrainian manufacturers.
Indigenous Replacement Project
The outlet cited unnamed officials who revealed that India was speeding up an indigenous version of the Kazan Helicopter, jointly developed by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and a yet to be decided private firm.
According to the outlet, the indigenous aircraft will be built under the Indian Medium Role Helicopter programme, launched to replace the Russian-origin Mi-series of Indian military aircraft with a domestic version.
HAL has completed the preliminary design work of the aircraft and is expected to develop a prototype in seven years.
The project’s initial cost is pegged at approximately $1.44 billion and another $1.5 billion once it enters production. India has expressed a need for more than 500 of the aircraft, according to the outlet.