MAKS 2021: India to purchase more Russian Kamov Ka-31 radar surveillance naval helicopters

Russia is waiting for the Indian Armed Forces’ decision on the purchase of Kamov Ka-31 (NATO reporting name: Helix) radar surveillance naval helicopters, Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev told TASS at the MAKS 2021 airshow.

India to purchase more Russian Kamov Ka 31 radar surveillance naval helicopters 925 001 Indian Navy Ka-31 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) naval helicopter. (Picture source aame website)

“The proposals for the supply of Ka-31 helicopters were sent to our Indian partners in 2020. Currently, we are waiting for a decision on conducting contract negotiations,” Shugayev said.

The Ka-31 (NATO reporting name Helix) is a military helicopter originally developed for the Soviet Navy by the Kamov Design Bureau. This helicopter is currently in service in Russia, China, and India in the naval airborne early warning and control role. India is one of the largest operators of Ka-31 radar surveillance helicopters.

In August 1999, the Indian Navy placed a firm order for four Ka-31 helicopters, and a contract for an additional five was signed in February 2001. The total value of all nine helicopters is estimated at the US $207 million. The first Ka-31 for the Indian Navy made its debut flight on 16 May 2001 and the first two of nine Ka-31 helicopters completed tests at the Kamov's Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow.

The first batch of four aircraft was officially inducted into the Indian Naval Air Arm in April 2003 and the second batch arrived by the end of 2004. In Indian Navy service, these helicopters operate not only from aircraft carriers, destroyers, and frigates but also from shore bases as well.

The Ka-31 naval helicopter has co-axially mounted contra-rotating main propellers. It is powered by two Klimov TV3-117VMAR turboshaft engines, rated at 1,633kW each. It has a maximum take-off weight of 12,200 kg and can operate at a maximum altitude of up to 3,500m. It can fly at an operational speed of 100 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 600 km. The mission duration is two hours 30 minutes.

The Ka-31 is fitted with the E-801M Oko (Eye) airborne electronic warfare radar which features a 6x1 meter planar array mounted beneath the fuselage. The radar is folded and stowed beneath the aircraft's fuselage before being lowered into a vertical position, to allow 360º mechanical scanning of the radar once every ten seconds. The radar can simultaneously track up to 40 airborne or surface threats and can detect fighter-sized aircraft from a range of 100 - 200 km (depending on the size of the target) and surface ships at a horizon of 200 km from an altitude of 9840 feet.