The Defence Acquisition Council, the apex procurement body of the Ministry of Defence, on Friday, approved a proposal to buy 10 airborne early warning (AEW) helicopters for Rs 3600 crore ($500million) from Russia. The Ka-31s are expected to be deployed on the aircraft carrier and the Grigorovich-class frigates.
The Ka-31 is an upgraded version of the Ka-28, operational with the Navy. Since 2003, India has purchased 14 Ka-31 helicopters.
With the operational speed of 216 miles and range of 370 miles, the Ka-31 can fly to a height of over 11,000 feet to detect and track aerial targets for the Indian Navy. Its Koryo- A radar, with a detection range of 250 km, provides the naval fleet with air targets and helps in protection of the fleet from enemy air assets like aircraft, cruise missiles and armed choppers.
The radar uses a retractable and electro-mechanically steered antenna deployed under the chopper's fuselage for aerial surveillance.
India, last year, ordered for four Grigorovich-class frigates and the first one is expected to join the Navy within four years.
India, since last October, has signed contracts worth over 10 billion with Russia which includes fighter jets, missiles, ammunition, helicopters, guns etc.