In a bid to establish an equal footing with Western helicopter manufacturers, Russian Helicopters recently made multiple announcements about sales, programs and joint ventures.
Russian Helicopters’ Ansat light twin helicopter was certified late last week by Russia’s Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee, albeit with conventional flight controls in lieu of the original fly-by-wire (FBW) system.
More than 8,000 Russian rotorcraft are in operation in more than hundred countries around the world–twenty types and around forty variants with major upgrades. Their manufacturer, Russian Helicopters (Hall 2a, Stand C198), which claims it has 14 percent of the world’s fleet, reported a profit of Roubles 9.4 billion ($300 million) in 2012–and a hefty 21 percent rise in revenues, to RUB125.7 billion.
Russian Helicopters, which is redeveloping the Ansat with conventional (as opposed to the original fly-by-wire) flight controls, expects to achieve Russian certification in the fourth quarter, with serial production to start in January. The next step will be EASA certification, expected next year or in 2014. Russian Helicopters is developing a new fuel system to comply with European requirements.
The Russian aerospace industry made a strong showing at the Farnborough airshow last week, with 55 entities represented. Eighteen full-scale exhibits were on display, including a Yak-130 combat trainer, an Aeroflot SSJ100 jetliner, and SaM146 and PD14 turbofan engines. The Ka-62 helicopter–a civil version of the military multirole Ka-62–made its international debut in the form of a full-scale mockup.
Russian Helicopters is redeveloping the Kazan Ansat light twin with conventional flight controls, rather than the fly-by-wire (FBW) system with which it has been flying thus far in military applications. “No FBW civil helicopter had been certified before and no standard requirements existed,” Russian Helicopters explained. Certification is expected in the second half of this year.
Russian Helicopters is redeveloping the Kazan Ansat light twin with conventional flight controls, as opposed to the fly-by-wire (FBW) system with which it has been flying thus far. Kazan Helicopters has performed the first demonstration flight with a hydro-mechanical flight control system.
The testing program, which involves two prototypes for flight and ground tests, started last year. The manufacturer has filed an application with the Interstate Aviation Committee’s Air Registry for additional type certification, which it expects to achieve in the second half of this year.
Eurocopter has fully launched the replacement program for its AS365/EC155 Dauphin and is targeting 2016 for entry into service for the first iteration, with a more advanced version to enter service several years later. Codenamed X4, the helicopter will feature a radically new cockpit, fly-by-wire controls and low-noise main rotor blades.
Looking beyond the current financial picture, the Russian aviation industry plans to increase helicopter production in the coming years, according to Andrei Reus, director general of Oboronprom. In fact, the Russian helicopter manufacturing industry aims to capture 15 percent of the world’s helicopter market by 2015.
“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”–Sir Winston Churchill, radio speech, 1939.
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