Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)is hoping to add instrument flight rules (IFR) capability to its MH2000 medium twin-turboshaft helicopter, and is working on further noise reduction measures.

According to MH2000 business development director Shinichiro Sakamoto, the company is aiming for IFR certification in 2001. Internal and external noise and vibration levels are to be further reduced, and MHI is hoping for US Federal Aviation Administration certification "within a maximum of two years".

The MH2000 won Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau certification last September. MHI has delivered three helicopters since certification, most recently to Japan's National Aerospace Laboratory at the end of last month.

The company has received no further orders, but Sakamoto says an order announcement from an unnamed Japanese operator is expected imminently. MHI is aiming for three to five MH2000 sales annually.

Sakamoto says internal cabin noise levels at 100% rotor speed reach 88dB, while the design target is 82-83dB. However, noise drops 5dB if rotor speed is reduced by 10%, he says, adding that VIP variants will have additional noise insulation built into the cabin.

External noise levels reach 90.7dB at 150m altitude, while the design target is 85dB. Sakamoto says MHI will attempt to further reduce aerodynamic interference between the main rotor and fuselage by optimising the design of the tail rotor by adjusting blade spacing to suppress noise.

Sakamoto adds that MHI is talking to the Japan Defence Agency about possible military applications, while the helicopter is also being promoted to television stations as an airborne broadcasting platform, as well as to government agencies for police and emergency services applications.

The MH2000 offers a maximum take-off weight of 4.5t, and is powered by two 597kW Mitsubishi MG5-100 engines.

Source: Flight International