Russian Helicopters appears on the cusp of launching development of a next-generation rotorcraft under its “advanced commercial helicopter” (ACH) initiative.
Writing in the latest edition of the manufacturer’s internal magazine, Andrey Shibitov, director of innovations, says that the effort is at a very early stage, with several concepts under consideration.
But he says these would feature “new and modernised main and toil rotor profiles and advanced main rotor hub design”, with the aircraft built from composite material and 3D-printed parts.
Key to the project’s success will be a clear understanding of its market prospects, adds Shibitov.
“I’d like to emphasise that the market niche this aircraft is being created in is new for us. Its very concept will significantly differ from the fundamental solutions laid down in the existing model range of our civilian helicopters,” he says.
The programme will combine “all the significant developments” from the Kamov, Kazan and Mil design bureaus, he says.
Russian Helicopters has previously conducted research into high-speed helicopter flight using a modified Mil Mi-24. Results from that test campaign will help inform the ACH programme, says Shibitov.
No timelines have been given for the project, however, and details of the configurations under review have not been released.