Having announced contracts within the past month for 70 new military and civil rotorcraft, Russian Helicopters comes to ILA 2012 a force to the reckoned with - at least in markets where the once-mighty Soviet industry dominated.
Mi-171E (Photos: Russian Helicopters)
In August, Russian defense export agency Rosoberonexport and China's Poly Technologies signed a follow-on contract for 52 Mi-171E medium transport helicopters. To be built at Russian Helicopters' Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, the aircraft will be delivered to the People's Liberation Army by 2014 and follow a 2009 order for 32 Mi-171Es.
On the civil side, where Russian Helicopters is keen to increase its share of the market, a contract has been signed with NefteGazAeroCosmos for 18 Ka-226TG light twin-turbine helicopters. Designed for operation in the Arctic, the helicopters are to be delivered in 2013-14 and transferred to Gazprom Avia, which will use them to monitor natural-gas pipelines owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
At ILA, Russian Helicopters is showcasing the latest Mi-171A2 version of the Mi-8/17, which is scheduled to enter series production in 2014. Also highlighted is the Mi-38 medium twin, now in flight test and planned for certification in 2014 and production in 2015.
Two Mi-38 prototypes are flying, with Russian Klimov TV7-117 and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127/TS engines, and two more are in build. Last month, the 30-passenger Mi-38 set a world altitude record for its helicopter weight class of more than 8,600m.
The Mi-171A2 and Ka-226TG are modernized versions of existing aircraft, and other helicopters within the company's extensive range of Mil and Kamov designs are to be upgraded under an framework agreement signed by Russian Helicopters and Ramenskoye Design Company (RDC) covering the development of glass-cockpit systems.
Initially, RDC will supply avionics for the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter and the ship-based version - the Ka-52K - that is to equip two French-supplied Mistral-class amphibious assault ships on order for the Russian navy. The Ka-52K, with folding coaxial rotors and nose-mounted radar, is planned to be ready for delivery of the first carrier in 2014.
The framework agreement, meanwhile, covers modernization of the piloting and navigation systems for the ship-based Ka-27, Ka-27PS, Ka-28M, Ka-29 and Ka-31M. Russian Helicopters says the open-architecture avionics upgrade will be based on an updated version of the standardized cockpit installed in the Ka-52 and Ka-31.