Military engines: Joint efforts

Moscow
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Working jointly with Ukraine's Motor-Sich and ZMKB Progress, Russia's Klimov is improving its widely used TV3-117 series turboshafts powering Kamov and Mil helicopters. Progress has also completed bench testing of the smaller AI-450, intended for Kamov Ka-226, Kazan Ansat and Rostverol Mi-2 helicopters.

Ukraine is offering the 465-600shp (335-445kW) AI-450 for Iran's Shahed-series helicopters, with possible local production at Turbine Engine Manufacturing (TEM). Tehran-based TEM already produces parts for the TV3-117VMA-SBM1 turboprop powering HESA-built IrAn-140 regional airliners, as well as carrying out final assembly from modules supplied from Ukraine.

The IrAn-140 is planned for military use as a maritime patrol aircraft, but there is suspicion Iran is using the core of the TV3-117 for a missile engine, with three turbine stages replaced by a jet nozzle in a design reminiscent of the Klimov TR3-117 powering Tupolev's Tu-143 Reis unmanned air vehicle.

The most recent version of Klimov's ubiquitous engine is the VK2500, which produces 2,400-2,700shp for hot-and-high operations. Deliveries of VK2500-powered Mi-17 helicopters are under way to China and Iran and the VK2500P will power Russia's newest combat helicopters, the Mil Mi-28N and Kamov Ka-50/52.

In 2006 Klimov reported the Moscow government had approved $100 million in funding to move manufacturing of the TV3-117 and VK2500 from Ukraine to Russia. From the middle of this year RSK MiG's Moscow-based Chernyshev plant is to begin upgrading existing TV3-117 engines up to VK2500 standard, while from 2009 it should switch to manufacturing new VK2500s.

In 2004, Klimov secured Russian defence ministry funding to improve the 2,500shp TV7-117/VK3000 series, including boosting power to 3,000-3,500shp. The company says it plans to start testing the 3,000shp TV7-117ST turboshaft for the future Ilyushin Il-112 light military transport this year and launch production in 2008. Klimov completed the first TV7-117ST prototype in 2006.

The Russian government recently approved the $7.5 million needed to complete development of the 500-800shp VK800V turboshaft, which will feature digital controls and could replace the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207K engines in Kazan's Ansat light twin. Klimov conducted bench tests of the engine's gas generator in August, with full engine tests are planned for the end of this year. The VK800V is scheduled to be certificated in 2008. Klimov is also working on the 1,500shp VK1500 turboshaft for modernised Mi-8/Mi-17s as well as Kamov's future Ka-60 helicopter.