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Indian Navy to get 10 Ka-31 helicopters

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has recently approved the Rs 3,600 crore ($5,198,400,000) proposal to buy 10 Kamov-31 AEW Helicopters from Russia for the Indian Navy.

Indian Navy to get 10 Ka 31s 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. There have been follow-on orders and so far there are around 14 Ka-31 helicopters in service of the Indian Navy.

These rotorcraft will join INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier that is currently under construction.