Russian Helicopters is working on import substitution

Russian Helicopters is working on import substitution

10-Jun-2014 Source: Rostec

During the 7th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia-2014, the CEO of the holding company Russian Helicopters discussed the plans and economic performance of the holding company, as well as future models and international cooperation.

“This year, our primary goal is implementing new projects, the foundations for which were laid in the last few years,” said Alexander Mikheev in an interview with Aviation Explorer. The management of the holding company has paid much attention to certification testing and beginning production on new aircraft, including the Mi-38, Mi-17A2, Ka-226, and Ansat. “Our task is to finish the testing as quickly as possible, obtain a certificate of AR IAC, and begin the serial production of these models,” the Russian Helicopters CEO emphasized.

An important aspect of this work was conducting market research and negotiations with potential buyers and customers. To this end, Alexander Mikheev highlighted the Mi-38, a much-anticipated aircraft in a class between the Mi-8/17 and Mi-26, noting that customers have already expressed an interest in it. The helicopter can be used for territory development projects and carrying passengers and freight. In regard to the Mi-38, the Russian Helicopters holding chief said that a rather intense program of Arctic aviation exploration had begun in the northern latitudes. “In this regard we are looking at the possibilities for our Mi-17, Mi-26, and Mi-38 helicopters,” said Alexander Mikheev.

On cooperation with China

Discussing the development of a joint program with the Chinese corporation Avicopter on the Advanced Heavy Helicopter project, the head of the Russian helicopter holding noted that the objective of the program was to ensure future missions in China. The future helicopter will be a Chinese product.

“Consultations between the holding company Russian Helicopters and Avicopter have been ongoing since 2008. Over the past few months we have made significant progress in defining the shape of the advanced helicopter. The basic parameters of the project have been decided, but this work is not yet finished,” said Alexander Mikheev. “We hope that this year we will define the technical configuration of the helicopter and will be able to discuss the status of the project further.”

“This is an ambitious project that basically gives development and programming work to the M. L. Mil Design Bureau. This product will use Mi-26 technologies but will be different. It will be an entirely new aircraft of a different class and takeoff weight, which will be created using our technological advances.”

On Future Products

Discussing promising future products that will soon be in commercial production, Alexander Mikheev highlighted the Ka-62. He noted that Russian Helicopters has already signed contracts for this aircraft. Three prototypes have been manufactured for certification testing, with all foreign parts necessary to build them already in the factory.

The first flight of the Ka-62 prototype is expected to take place this year. Preparations are currently underway for statistical and flight testing.

“The Ka-62 is a unique aircraft, as it incorporates many new technological solutions, such as the extensive use of composite materials and a shockproof fuel system. The gearhead has been constructed using technology of the Kamov Design Bureau from Austria,” said Alexander Mikheev.

Light helicopters require a careful approach. Today’s domestic models are much weaker when compared to foreign competitors. “It is not so easy to start our own program for light helicopters because the Mil and Kamov design bureaus are busy with a lot of other work. We need to turn foreign competitors into partners,” said Alexander Mikheev. An example is the cooperation with Agusta Westland on Helivert, which assembles the AW139.

The general approach of the holding company is formulated as follows: “We need to keep our traditional niche. In monetary terms, today we have 14% of the world market. Our challenge is to increase this to 18-20% over the next two to three years, to develop our platform and products, which are currently popular. In regard to light helicopters we must rely on an alliance with global manufacturers who are always established in this niche.”

International cooperation is already actively underway, particularly in the field of helicopter engines. For example, the French engine company Turbomeca has already been selected to work on the Ka-226T and Ka-62 engines. The next step may be cooperation on a future speed helicopter, which is currently at a research and conceptual design stage. “We are discussing a variety of possibilities, including suggestions of partners for this project, as well as how to increase their presence throughout our existing platforms,” said Alexander Mikheev.

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