Posted by: Helicop Aviation | August 19, 2011

MAKS 2011: Russian Helicopters shows off range of systems

Russian Helicopters used the MAKS air show outside Moscow to showcase a number of developments across its range, displaying several new variants for the first time. Despite pulling its share offering to investors in May, in a move that would have made it the first government-controlled Russian defence company to go public, the number of projects evident during the air show gave the impression of a concern that remains buoyant.

Some long-stalled projects appear to be finally beginning to gain some momentum. Among the new aircraft displayed were the light Mi-34C1, a Ka-226T with a medical module, the Mi-38 transport helicopter and the new heavy Mi-26T2.

While no major military contracts are expected to be signed during MAKS, Russian Helicopter chief executive Dmitry Petrov confirmed on 16 August that the company has now signed seven long-term contracts with the Russian defence ministry for more than 450 helicopters as part of a $29 billion effort to upgrade the military’s helicopter fleet by 2020.

During Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to the show on 17 August, Gazprom Avia signed for 39 Mi-8AMT helicopters to service its gas pipeline network. The aircraft will be delivered between 2012 and 2016.

On the export front, a spokesman for the company told that the primary focus was on fellow BRIC members Brazil, India and China. The Mi-26T2 is aimed at an Indian tender for 15 heavy transport helicopters while the possibility of a joint venture for the production in China of an aircraft based on the Mi-26 was being discussed by the two governments. At the LAAD exhibition in Rio de Janeiro in April, the holding company signed a number of partnership contracts with Brazilian operators.

Meanwhile, to help guarantee timely future deliveries of its Mil and Kamov helicopter families, Russian Helicopters in June signed an agreement with United Engine Corporation (UEC) for engine deliveries through to 2020. The agreement centres on the deliveries of the Klimov-produced TV3-117 and VK-2500 engines and, according to Petrov, lets the company accurately forecast its helicopter production capacity, plan the production process, and ‘satisfy the ever-growing demand for Russian rotorcraft’.

There also appears to be progress on the development of the new Ka-62 with Russian Helicopters ordering a batch of 40 Turbomeca Ardiden 3G engines for the medium helicopter. According to company documents, certification of the aircraft, which will seat 12 to 15, is scheduled for 2014. The single rotor machine features a ducted tail rotor and the rotor blades and airframe are polymer composites by more than 50%.

The agreement with AgustaWestland for an assembly line in Russia of the AW139 also moved forward recently with the signing of the final agreements of the HeliVert joint venture in June. The assembly line on a 40,000sq m site in Tomilino near Moscow is currently being built and is expected to produce some 15 aircraft per year for the Russian and CIS markets.

The stalled Mi-38 programme, which has been in development since the 1980s, appears to be gaining momentum, Petrov telling reporters he expected to sign the first launch customer for the type in 2011.

The two Mi-38 flying prototypes were on display at the show – one powered by Pratt and Whitney PW1267/5 engines and the other with recently installed TV7-117 powerplants. The aircraft is aimed at the niche between the Mi-8/17 medium helicopter and Mi-26 heavy lifter. The Mi-38 will have a MTOW of 15,600kg and will be able to transport 7 tons of external loads. The third flying prototype is expected to be ready by the end of the year while a fourth will follow in 2012 or 2013 as a near-production-standard aircraft.

The spokesman said that the company expected to certify the aircraft by the end of 2014 with series production at Kazan then expected in 2015. At its exhibition space Russian Helicopters displayed a representative interior of a Mi-38 in VIP configuration.



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