Russian Helicopters (RH) is to relaunch production of the Mil Mi-34 in an updated version powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2F turboshaft as part of its strategic aim of breaking into the light helicopter market.

The machine will initially be built again by Arsenyev Aviation as the piston-powered Mi-34S1 variant, but RH says a memorandum with Turbomeca signed at the MAKS air show lays the ground for the new Sapsan (peregrine) version to go into production in 2011.

Just 22 examples of the original design were built during its initial run from 1993 to 2002. Technical details of the Sapsan have not been released, but Mil previously envisaged a maximum take-off weight of 1.450kg (3,200lb) for the turbine version.

Contractors on the Sapsan include Reduktor for the main- and tail-gearboxes; Stupino Machine-Building Industrial Enterprise for the main- and tail-rotor-heads and swash plate; and Arsenyev, which will make the fuselage, rotor blades and undertake final assembly.

The aircraft is promoted as an aerobatic training and light utility machine with room for up to four passengers.

RH programme director Dmitriy Rodin says: "In terms of sales it is important that 80% of companies, according to statistical data, buy a new helicopter as a replacement for an old one. We have calculated that successful sales in the short-term [2011-15] will help Russian Helicopters assume a strong position on the market where the Mi-34 competes and promote Russian-built rotorcraft in target regions in general."

At MAKS the company announced the sale of 20 Mi-171 helicopters to Sharjah-based Airfreight Aviation of the UAE to be delivered in 2010 - taking Mi-171 sales to Airfreight to 70 over the past two years.

RH also released production and financial data for its managed companies saying it expects them to produce 220 helicopters this year compared with 168 in 2008 and that revenues for the first half of the year totalled Rb18.4 billion ($584 million) for a net profit of Rb1.71 billion.

Source: Flight International