The Russian defence ministry’s Arctic division has accepted the first polar-optimised Mil Mi-8AMTSh-VA rotorcraft from Russian Helicopters.

The type is derived from the Mi-8AMTSh-V that the Russian military already uses, but can operate in temperatures down to -40˚C and fly out to 700nm (1,300km) using auxiliary fuel tanks. It contains equipment that allows it to operate in low temperatures – where orientation is difficult – and during the polar night, when there is limited satellite signal or radio links, as well as over bodies of water and at locations away from base.

Klimov VK-2500-03 engines and enhanced gearboxes, plus the TA-14 auxiliary power unit, improve thrust and power output, meeting the needs of the helicopter’s on-board systems, the manufacturer says.

“The wealth of expertise we built up in the course of the development, production and testing of the Mi-8AMTSh-VA in the Far North is also going to be incorporated into the commercial model of this Arctic helicopter,” Alexander Mikheev, chief executive of Russian Helicopters, says. “This helicopter is crucial to the development of transport infrastructure in Russia’s northern regions, and also to companies in the oil and gas sector to support offshore work.”

Arctic Mi-8AMTSh-VA - Russian Helicopters

Russian Helicopters

The contract from the defence ministry was signed in February 2015, and the work was carried out by Russian Helicopters’ Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. Other law enforcement agencies in Russia have expressed interest in acquiring the type, the company says.

The rotorcraft can be integrated with night vision goggles for nighttime operations, while heating systems – both for the crew and the onboard systems including the powerplant and gearboxes – allow for operations in low temperatures.

A weather radar, observation systems and a communications suite that ensures uninterrupted radio links over a range of frequencies, allow for better situational awareness.