Russian Helicopters has unveiled its first light single-engined helicopter, the VRT500, in a bid to capture a slice of the international market for rotorcraft of up to 2,000kg (4,400lb).
Developed by the manufacturer's VR-Technologies subsidiary, the helicopter features co-axial rotors and has a take-off weight of 1,600kg.
Andrey Boginsky, Russian Helicopters’ chief executive – who describes the VRT500 as “the most large-scale” helicopter in its class – estimates the manufacturer will sell about 1,000 units by 2035, which would translate to a 15% market share in the light category. “We see interest in the project from both Russian and foreign operators,” he says.
The five-seat helicopter is designed to carry a 730kg load over a 460nm (860km) range, with a speed of up to 135kt (250km/h).
First flight is scheduled for 2019, with service entry in 2020-21.
Structural tests of the carrying system are in the process of being conducted, while aerodynamic trials are planned in the short term, Russian Helicopters says.
The division of state corporation Rostec notes that the VRT500 will be equipped with a “modern interactive avionics complex”.
Anatoly Serdyukov, industrial director of Rostec’s aviation cluster, says: “We enter the market of light helicopters… for the first time in many years. This market is very competitive, which forces [us] to increase requirements for quality, reliability and capabilities.”
He says the VRT500 will provide operators with “excellent performance at a keen price”.