FARNBOROUGH: Russian Helicopters makes civil market push

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Russian Helicopters is out in force this week to underscore its civil market offerings with the international debut of its Ka-62 medium multi-role aircraft and Farnborough debut of the Mi-171A2, an evolution of the hugely successful Mi-8/17 series.

Also on show is the new Mi-38 medium and light Ansat, and a search and rescue modification of the Ka-32A11BC.

The Ka-62, a commercial version of the Ka-60, features an all-new shrouded tail rotor, and rotor blades and airframe in polymer composites, for a claimed 60% weight reduction.

Russian Helicopters, the holding company around which the national rotorcraft industry has been consolidated since 2010, is pushing the Ka-62 to the oil and gas industry as well as rescue and general business operators.

With 4,500 Mi-8/17s in operation in 80 countries, the improved version - first shown at HeliExpo in Dallas earlier this year - will be a show highlight. Updates include more power, range and payload capacity owing to new engines, a new composite-blade rotor system, enhanced transmission and an X-shaped tail rotor. Improved avionics and a glass cockpit also feature.

Chief executive Dmitry Petrov has declared his confidence that the Mi-171A2 "will help Russia retain its leadership in the medium helicopter class".

The larger Mi-38 - up to 40 passengers, maximum take-off weight 15,600kg and 6,000kg payload internally or underslung - is in prototype development with serial production imminent, and is on track for certification in 2015.

Ansat has had a patchy start, having first flown a decade ago and, today, its only customer is the Russian military, which uses a training variant. But much of the model's sales challenge stems from its fly-by-wire control system, for which there is no civil certification standard. But a more standard hydro-pneumatic control system currently under development is expected to win the Turbomeca-powered light twin Russian certification by year-end; a more powerful and heavier version, to be powered by in-development Klimov VK-8s for 4,500kg take-off weight, may follow, for Russian and international certification.

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Picture: Russian Helicopters