Russian Helicopters is launching a new phase of modernization at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant to re-tool and upgrade the factory. The first stage involves modernizing and expanding the production of protective coatings. “Project development started last year, to meet the need to increase efficiency and to ensure the products made are of the highest possible quality,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. As a result, the plant will be ready to start production of the Mi-171A2, an upgraded version of the Mi-8/171.
Earlier this month Russian Helicopters delivered the 3,500th helicopter of the Mil Mi-17 series. Assembled at the Kazan Helicopters plant, the machine is one of 151 that India has ordered. However, at the same time, tensions with Ukraine are threatening the supply of engines.
Military cooperation between Russia and Middle East will certainly be boosted with the recent appointment of Alexander Mikheyev, formerly deputy general manager at arms vendor Rosoboronexport, as the general manager at the Russian Helicopters holding company (Chalet C9). The decision was made on September 24, and is understood to be a move aimed at boosting sales of Russian military helicopters in the global market.
In a bid to establish an equal footing with Western helicopter manufacturers, Russian Helicopters recently made multiple announcements about sales, programs and joint ventures.
A Russian-owned Mi-8 helicopter being flown on July 31 in support of the United Nations World Food Program crashed in Ethiopia while en route to South Sudan. The helicopter was carrying four people–two pilots and two passengers–at the time of the accident. The extent of injuries to those aboard was not reported.
Nineteen people, including 11 children, were killed when a Russian-built Mi-8 helicopter operated by Polar Airlines crashed July 2 after a hard landing in eastern Siberia. Nine other people aboard survived the accident. The helicopter carried a crew of three. Russian aviation authorizes said the helicopter was performing a regular passenger flight from the town of Deputatsky to Kazachye.
India’s small-but-strategic South Asian neighbors, including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, will procure around 30 helicopters in different categories in the next five years, according to an internal study conducted by Sikorsky.
While Indian military helicopter procurement plans are for more than 1,000 helicopters by 2020, including light utility, attack, Mi-17 medium transport, heavy-lift and multi-role platforms, even as its GDP grew by over 6 percent last year, Bangladesh has the largest budget for procurement in the Indian periphery.
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-owned outsize cargo specialist Volga-Dnepr has many years experience moving all types of helicopters around the planet, whether in support of contracts or on delivery flights for manufacturers. The company (Booth No. C702) was founded in 1990 and can transport anything from MD 500s up to Mil Mi-8s/17s and Sikorsky CH-53s or S-64s.
Rosoboronexport reported a new Indian order for 12 Mil Mi-17V5 helicopters at the Aero India show this week amid hopes that some 200 of them could eventually be sold to India. To date, Russian Helicopters has delivered 36 of the 80 machines that were ordered in 2008 in a deal worth more than $1.3 billion. Deliveries to the Indian Air Force commenced in 2011. The latest order comprises three in VIP transport configuration, and nine for the Indian Coast Guard.
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