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Indian Navy to purchase six Ka-31 helicopters instead of ten.

| 2020

According to the Indian newspaper The Economic Times, the Indian Navy will purchase only six additional Ka-31 radar patrol helicopters in Russia, instead of ten previously planned. This is due to insufficient financing of the Indian fleet, which in 2020 was allocated only 41259 crore rupees ($ 5.815 billion) from the budget, instead of the required 64307 crore rupees ($ 7.654 billion). However, the purchase of a batch of Ka-31 remains one of the priorities of the Indian Navy.

Indian Navy to purchase six Ka 31 helicopters instead of ten Russian Navy Kamov Ka-31 (Picture source: Dmitriy Pichugin)

The Kamov Ka-31 (NATO reporting name 'Helix') is a military helicopter developed for the Soviet Navy and currently in service in Russia, China and India in the naval airborne early warning and control role.

These helicopters are critical for the Indian Navy as they will help in increasing the radar coverage and will act as an extra set of eyes. The radars onboard the ships have a limited ‘horizon’, which are not able to track low-flying targets, in particular, anti-ship missiles. In 1999, the Indian Navy had ordered the Ka-31 AEW helicopters and they were deployed on board the INS Viraat aircraft carrier and other ships.

Due to insufficient funding, the Indian Navy in 2020 also decided to reduce the number of prospective minesweepers planned to order from 12 to eight units (construction is supposed to be carried out under a foreign license for Goa Shipyard Limited, the cost of 12 ships was previously estimated at 32 thousand crore rupees - 4.5 billion dollars), as well as once again postponing its long-suffering program for the acquisition of four universal landing ships (the cost is estimated at 20 thousand crore rupees - 2.82 billion dollars). The number of additional Boeing P-8I Neptune base patrol planes planned for purchase in the United States will be reduced from ten (21 thousand crore rupees - $ 2.96 billion) to six.

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