The MVZ Mil design bureau, Kazan Helicopter Plant, Eurocopter and Euromil (a joint venture between Mil and Eurocopter) have signed two memoranda covering the development and production of the Mil Mi-38 multipurpose helicopter. Eurocopter will act as avionics integrator.

Kazan general manager Alexander Lavrentyev says the first Mi-38 fuselage has been shipped to Mil for structural load testing. The second fuselage will be tested in Kazan, and the third will become the first flying prototype.

Lavrentyev says Kazan, one of the most successful Russian aircraft industry enterprises, has invested about $100 million of its own money in Mi-38 prototype development and parts manufacturing. The Mi-38's first flight is scheduled for late 2000.

The Mi-38 makes use of technology tested on the Mil Mi-28 attack helicopter, inheriting the latter's main rotor and transmission. The first composite main rotor blade produced by the Kazan plant using production manufacturing processes is being tested at Mil, and "the first results are successful", says Mil. By the end of this year, a flying testbed to evaluate the Mi-38's rotor system will be flown.

The Mil Mi-38 is intended to replace the large in-service fleet of Mi-8/Mi-17 medium helicopters, and to take over some of the tasks which are now carried out by ageing Mil Mi-6s.

Source: Flight International