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Russia eyes new military variants of Mi-38 helicopter

Russia may develop medevac and electronic warfare (EW) variants of the Mil Mi-38 helicopter, but has so far ruled out an armed model.

In an interview contained in the latest issue of Russian Helicopters' bi-annual magazine, Yuriy Borisov, Moscow's deputy defence minister, says it has so far committed to take 15 examples of the new 15.6t rotorcraft.

The first two, configured for troop and cargo transport missions, will arrive in 2018 and 2019, respectively, he says.

Although "it is possible" that future developments will include medevac or EW variants of the Mi-38, subject to discussions with the manufacturer, he rules out an armed assault version similar to the Mi-8AMTSh.

"It is not stimulated by the technical assignment," he says.

Borisov also says the defence ministry is still considering whether to revive production of the Mi-14 amphibious helicopter, noting that there is "demand for such an aircraft".

"In the near future we will have to determine whether it would be a modernised Mi-14 or a new project of an amphibian helicopter, or maybe both at once."

In addition, Borisov says he is "keeping a close eye" on the development of the 6.5t Kamov Ka-62 commercial helicopter, which is due to gain Russian civil certification in 2019.

Although no military variant has so far been launched, Borisov says a helicopter in the Ka-62's weight category would "undoubtedly" be used by Russia's military.

However, before that can happen "imported components of the helicopter" – such as its Safran Helicopter Engines Ardiden 3G powerplants – would need to be replaced with Russian-made equipment.

"This is quite feasible; currently the systems and assemblies are being developed in Russia, which will make it possible to make such substitution," Borisov says.

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