Russian Helicopters has secured validation for the Mil Mi-171A2, the latest variant of its long-running, medium-twin helicopter line.

Rosaviatsia, Russia's federal air transport regulator, granted the certification on 17 August. It approves operation of the Mi-171A2 for cargo and passenger transport, in both visual and instrument flight rules conditions.

Upgrades over earlier Mi-8/-17 variants include uprated, full authority digital engine control-equipped Klimov VK-2500PS-03 turboshafts, a reinforced transmission, a digital navigation system and a health and useage monitoring system. In addition, it gains a new, more aerodynamic composite main rotor – increasing rotor thrust by 700kg – and an X-shaped tail rotor, replacing the previous three-bladed design.

Rosaviatsia says it approved 16 significant changes over the previous Mi-171A model, including an increase to maximum take-off weight, which rises to 13t for Cat A operations.

Russian Helicopters used four flight-test articles for the certification effort, as well as two static test airframes.

Serial production of the Mi-171A2 has now started at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant.

"Obtaining a type certificate is one of the most important events of the project and means the opportunity to deliver this helicopter to commercial operators," says Andrey Boginsky, director general of Russian Helicopters.

"The Mi-171A2 offers ample opportunities to renew the helicopter fleet of Russian and foreign operators, who have experience in operating Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters."