Commercial, Military

Russian Helicopters Shows Drones, Leonardo Signs Oil and Gas Deal at MAKS 2017

By S.L. Fuller | July 19, 2017
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Photo courtesy of Leonardo

Russian Helicopters has had no shortage of announcements, following the start of MAKS 2017. The Russian International Aviation and Space Salon commenced Tuesday and will end July 23. Leonardo is also active in Moscow, with the announcement of a new oil and gas contract.

Aviashelf, based in Russia, has signed on to use an AW189 for transport operations in support of the oil and gas industry, Leonardo said. The deal covers support and training, and the aircraft is expected for delivery next year. The AW189 would be equipped with a full ice protection system (FIPS).


Making its first appearance at MAKS is the Mi-28NE, Russian Helicopters said. Rostvertol planned to bring three helicopters to MAKS, including Mi-28NE, Mi-35M and Mi-26T2. Russian Helicopters said they would participate in flight demonstrations as well as in static display. A new version of the Mi-8AMT is also being unveiled. Depending on customer requirements, the convertible version of the aircraft can be used to transport freight or passengers. There is also a VIP-lounge configuration that can carry 13 people.

A modernized Mi-171SH-HV is also making its first appearance at MAKS 2017. The updated military transport helicopter is ready to conduct flight tests. Russian Helicopters said it features composite rotor blades and a new X-shaped tail rotor. Compared to the previous version, the update features increased maximum cruise and flight speed, as well as increased maximum takeoff weight. Thrust-weight ratio is improved, as is efficiency in hot and high operations.

Russian Helicopters said another aircraft making its first appearance during MAKS 2017 is Design Bureau’s VRT500 light multirole helicopter. It can seat up to five people and features a glass cockpit. Flight testing is expected to end before 2020, with testing and certification completed my mid-2021. Prototypes for Russian Helicopters’ VRT300 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) were also unveiled at the show, the company said. There are two versions of the aircraft. One version is designed for operations in the arctic, while the other features extended range for monitoring and remote sensing. Russian Helicopters said it presented an experimental model of the VRT30 at MAKS 2017. The VRT30 was designed by Design Bureau and is an unmanned, 2-ton tiltrotor. By the fourth quarter of 2017, Russian Helicopters said it expects the VRT30 will be ready to enter phase two of testing.

Extending its UAS efforts, Russian Helicopters signed a memorandum of understand and cooperation with Vega during MAKS 2017 for joint development of drone technologies.

“The agreement is aimed at expanding the scientific and technical, information and business cooperation between the parties to improve competitiveness and efficient development of new models of military and civilian equipment and technology in the domestic and international market,” Russian Helicopters said.

Aimed, in part, at military use, the agreement covers land and ship-based drones. Vega is manufacturer of airborne radar control and surveillance systems for UAS. The agreement also covers the civil UAS market, looking to develop systems for arctic operations. The two parties have both the domestic and international market in mind.

Russian Helicopters said the Mi-38 is taking place in the show, as it is the subject of a recent contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Two Mi-38s are set to be delivered: one in 2018 and one in 2019.

The manufacturer also said that Kazan Helicopter Plant had received a certificate of approval, although the announcement was made outside the context of MAKS 2017. The plant can now produce civil helicopters, including the Mi-172 and Mi-8MTB-1, 17-1B-Ni, Ni-passenger 8MTB-1 Ansat and Ansat-K.

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