Kamov is preparing to deliver the first Ka-226 light helicopters to three Russian launch customers, as local AP-29 airworthiness certification of the twin-turbine machine is pushed back to April next year.

Russia's emergencies ministry (MChS) is scheduled to take delivery of the first of two mission-specific Ka-226ChS aircraft by the end of the month for operational trials. MChS is planning to add three more aircraft next year, which will be deployed for search-and-rescue and medical evacuation operations.

Kamov is also set to deliver the first of 50 Ka-226s ordered by Russian natural gas giant Gazprom early next year, with the remainder to follow by the end of 2005. The Moscow city government, meanwhile, is to take delivery of three Ka-226s and, according to Kamov, is "firming up" earlier plans to buy a total of 10 aircraft.

Meanwhile, the long-delayed first flight of the Mi-38 medium twin-turbine helicopter has slipped again, and is set to take place by the end of January. The Mi-38 is being developed by Euromil, a collaborative effort involving Mil, Kazan Helicopters and Eurocopter. Following its maiden flight from the Kazan plant, the prototype will be moved to Mil's facility in Panki outside Moscow for flight-testing.

Russian-manufactured Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127-based turboshafts will power the $11 million aircraft, which was delayed by problems with the main gearbox, which had been supplied by St Petersburg-based Red October (Flight International 30 July-5 August).

Source: Flight International