A new Russian light helicopter, the Berkut VL, will go on show for the first time at the Moscow Air Show at Moscow's Zhukovsky Airport next week, the manufacturer announced yesterday. “We will show the first production standard Berkut VL, patented for mass production, at MAKS,” a Berkut representative said. The company has not provided detailed information on how this variant differs from the standard Berkut shown at HeliRussia earlier this year.
Berkut VL is a two-seat light commercial helicopter with a take-off weight of 740 kg, a 147 hp engine, a maximum speed of 174 km/h, and range of 380 km. The machine is being produced at a plant in Tolyatti in central Russia. The factory can produce up to 15 a month, and they are aiming directly at the R22 market. Robinson have been very successful in Russia with both the R22 and R44.
Berkut’s chief designer Valentin Malkin said that using a coaxial rotor format means that the helicopter is easy to fly for new pilots.
“These helicopters have no competitor in Russia,” Berkut’s development director Dmitry Rumyantsev said. “They are competitive with foreign helicopters in their technical characteristics, but are around half the price.”. The pricing is dependent on various engine options. With a Lycoming O-320 engine, the price is estimated around $130,000 with a "quantity discount" available - if you commit to ten airframes, the price reduces to 105,000. With a local Russian ConverVAZ engine, a much lower figure of $70,000 is being quoted.
HeliHub.com has not found a photo of the Berkut flying, so our view on the production status of the type is a cautious one.
Nikolai Vanesev - HeliHub.com Moscow correspondent
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