New Delhi Approves Navy Ka-31 Buy

New Delhi Approves Navy Ka-31 Buy 11 May, 2019

The Defence Acquisition Council on Friday cleared the purchase of 10 Russian-made Kamov Ka-31 31 Helix airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) helicopters for the Indian Navy (IN). ANI news agency reported the proposed acquisition would cost approximately Rs 3,600 crore (US$518 million)..

The procurement of 10 Ka-31 AEW&C helicopters, used as airborne pickets by the IN, will allow them to improve their situational awareness at sea, and follow-on orders after India ordered 12 similar helicopters from Russia almost 2 decades ago.

Out of the 10 helicopters, 8 new Ka-31s will be embarked on four additional upcoming Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356M) stealth frigates being acquired from Russia. The 2 other units will also form part of the airborne compliment of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and the indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, when it enters service.

The Ka-31 is equipped with a fuselage-mounted E-801M Oko electro-mechanically steered radar antenna, allowing 360 degrees’ coverage to provide targets to warships and aircraft.

The Ka-31 is already operated by the navy as an airborne picket. The service inducted four in 2003, five in 2005, and five in 2013

The Ka-31 is a variant of the older Russian Ka-29 maritime helicopter and is specifically meant for the airborne early warning (AEW) role. The Ka-31 carries a rotating radar system that is stowed below its fuselage when not in use. The Ka-31 uses the 'Oko' radar system, which can detect aerial targets up to a distance of 200km away. The Oko radar is also capable of scanning for targets on the surface of the sea or on land.

The Indian Navy first ordered the Ka-31 in 1999 for deployment on the INS Viraat aircraft carrier and other ships. Subsequent

Helicopter-mounted AEW systems like the Ka-31 have inferior parameters—such as lower radar capability, operating height and speed—in comparison with dedicated fixed-wing systems like the US-built E-2 Hawkeye. However, heavy aircraft like the E-2 Hawkeye would not be easy to operate from the Indian Navy's aircraft carriers, which lack catapults to assist the aircraft in taking off.


New Delhi Approves Navy Ka-31 Buy

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