Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland are set to advance the development of their joint 2.5-ton light helicopter at the upcoming Moscow air show.
The two companies will sign key documents relating to development and workshare of the new helicopter program, according to Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov, speaking to journalists in Moscow on Aug. 13. Further signings will take place late this year.
The program was launched at the 2012 Farnborough air show, but both companies have been tight-lipped about it. Petrov said the new aircraft would be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency by the end of 2016. He also told reporters that the company has built an engineering mockup of the aircraft, but would not provide details on the aircraft’s design or configuration.
AgustaWestland has formed a joint venture with Russian Helicopters called HeliVert, which is producing the AW139 medium helicopter on a new final assembly line in the Tomilino District of Moscow. The first HeliVert-produced AW139 flew last January.
It’s not clear if the aircraft will replace anything in the AgustaWestland product line. But a light turbine helicopter has long been needed in Russian Helicopters’ product line, which has seen the proliferation of Western-built, single-engine types in the domestic market. Types such as the Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil have gained significant market share in Commonwealth of Independent States countries, and the type is also being adopted by the Russian air force for the training and utility role. Several manufacturers are re-entering the single-engine light helo market, including Bell, which is due to fly its Short Light Single aircraft in 2014, in a bid to win back the JetRanger market it helped to establish.