New Helicopters Highlight Russian Hour
“The Russian Hour,” sponsored by the Russia-based Helicopter Industry Association, featured the introduction of two of Russian Helicopters’ newest machines.
The Mi-171A2 is a follow-on upgrade to the venerable Mi-8/17 family and represents what program manager Dmitri Zuykov described as the next chapter in looking at broader global markets.
True to its heritage, the -171A2 is a multi-role helicopter capable of filling jobs from offshore oil production support to passenger transport. The big machine is expected to have a range of approximately 430 nm, and twin Klimov VK-2500 engines will give it a cruise speed of about 150 knots. First deliveries are expected to begin in 2015.
Newer and sleeker is the company’s Kamov Ka-61, a clean-sheet twin-engine design. French-made Turbomeca Ardiden 3G engines will provide the power. Polymeric composite materials make up more than 50 percent of the airframe and main rotor blades and the tail rotor is shrouded.
According to Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov, “Designers have worked particularly hard to reduce the helicopter’s environmental footprint and increase its operational cost-efficiency.”
Like the Mi-171A2, the Ka-62 medium twin is intended for multi-role service and in its executive/VIP variant will carry up to 15 passengers. It will also serve in cargo transportation, medevac and search-and-rescue roles. First flight of the Ka-62 is expected in August, with certification anticipated in late 2014 or early 2015.
Strides in Russia
The Russian Hour, which now spans two hours, also included operator presentations, with Atlas Taxi Aero, which flies the Mi-171A1 in Brazil and UTAir, which compared Russian rotorcraft operation with that of western counterparts.
AgustaWestland offered a presentation on the first flight of an AW139 assembled in Russia. Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland last year signed an agreement to jointly develop an all-new 2.5-ton-class, single-engine helicopter. The program will be shared on a 50-50 basis, and the new helicopter will be designed for the worldwide market.
Also at yesterday’s event, Ken Norie, president and CEO of Canadian operator VIH Aviation Group, received a special award from the Helicopter Industry Association. VIH Aviation is one of the world’s most experienced operators of Kamov civil helicopters outside Russia and the CIS. The first delivery was two Ka-32s in 1997. Sergey Mikheev, president of the Helicopter Industry Association and general designer of the Kamov design bureau, presented the award.