India’s ministry of defence has cleared an upgrade programme for its 10 navy Kamov Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

The $294 million deal received defence acquisition council approval in July, says the navy, and work will be performed in Russia and India. Industry sources say equipment will be sourced by the Russian agency handling the upgrade.

“The KA-28 will receive state-of-the-art western weapons and sensors and the upgrade is to be completed in 42 months,” the navy says.

The mid-life upgrade of the near-obsolete co-axial helicopters has been pursued by the navy since 2008, but the upgrade was stalled following controversy surrounding the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter programme, since the airborne tactical observation surveillance mission system and Seaspray maritime surveillance radar for the Ka-28 upgrade were from Finmeccanica Group (since renamed Leonardo) companies.

India’s Ka-28s suffer from poor serviceability, according to a defence ministry source: “A few Ka-28s have been made available for operations by extensive servicing/overhauling performed in India.”

New Delhi also operates 14 Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters in the radar picket role.

These helicopters are being overhauled in Russia by Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, where they were originally manufactured.

The first two repaired Ka-31s were delivered to the navy in May 2015.