Russia’s United Engine is gearing up to develop a new engine for the Mil Mi-26 helicopter that it believes will lift the performance of the already enormous 56t maximum take-off weight rotorcraft.

Based on the Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofan, which will power the Irkut MC-21 narrowbody airliner, the planned PD-12V will replace the Mi-26’s existing 11,400shp (8,500kW) Motor Sich D-136 turboshafts.

As well as potentially offering a performance boost, the new powerplants will allow Russian Helicopters to be less reliant on engines sourced from Ukrainian industry.

Writing in the latest issue of Russian Helicopters’ corporate magazine, Alexander Artyukhov, United Engine chief executive, says it is now waiting for “a tender for the replacement of the Mi-26 engine”.

“According to our evaluation, the modernisation of the Mi-26 helicopter by equipping it with the PD-12V will ensure an increase in transporting capacities of the rotorcraft and a decrease in its operating costs,” he says.

He promises it will be “the most powerful turboshaft engine in the world”, which will offer “better performance characteristics, including the power rating”.

In addition, as it is a derivative of the PD-14, this will “decrease the time necessary to develop the PD-12V”, says Artyukhov.

Elsewhere, development activities continue on the Klimov TV7-117V engines that will power the 15.6t Mi-38 heavy twin.

Engine endurance tests are ongoing, says Artyukhov, and “the work to set up serial production has already been going on”, he says.

United Engine has so far been contracted to deliver 50 units of the TV7 to Russian Helicopters.

Certification for the utility transport variant of the Mi-38 was achieved in late 2015; approval for a passenger transport version is expected in 2017.