Russian Helicopters has signed a "partnership memorandum" with 50-year-old Russian operator PANH Helicopters to study the civilian role of commercial helicopters in Russia and other countries. The two companies will jointly assess competitiveness, domestically and internationally, of new and modified Russian-built helicopters.

"This agreement with PANH is an important step in Russian Helicopters' efforts to work with helicopter operators at the development stage as well as when helicopters are already operational," says Russian Helicopters chief executive Dmitry Petrov. "By doing this we can meet our customers' individual requirements better, and therefore create more competitive helicopters with a personal focus on each client."

Other projects under the agreement include the creation, production and deployment of training simulators for new Russian-built helicopters.

HeliVert - Russian Helicopters' joint venture with AgustaWestland - has clinched a second order from Exclases Russia for AW139 helicopters. The first of three Russian-built AW139s from the previous contract is earmarked for delivery in June.

The latest deal is for five VIP and utility-configured versions of the medium twin-engined aircraft that will be assembled at HeliVert's plant in Tomilino near Moscow.

"The plant was constructed from scratch and is now one of the most advanced facilities of the kind in Russia," says HeliVert. "It is expected that up to 15-20 helicopters will be assembled annually to meet the growing demand for the AW139 in Russia and the CIS," it continues.

Source: Flight International