Photo by Igor Dvurekov
As Russia seeks to upgrade and expand its military rotorcraft fleets, officials must contend with insufficient domestic engine production and the demand for resources sanctions have placed on Russian engine manufacturers.
Russia is planning a major acquisition in both land-based attack and utility helicopters and increasing its fleet of naval rotorcraft to deploy on new helicopter aircraft carriers in the works.
Prior to 2014, the majority of engines for Russian military helicopters were made abroad, mostly in the U.S. and the European Union, but sanctions and the end of Russia-U.S. military cooperation has resulted in a nearly complete suspension of these supplies.
Russia is continuing its efforts to establish series production of engines for its military helicopters, however that requires significant time and financial expenditures.
Vadim Bazykin, former military pilot and one of Russia’s major experts in the field of combat aviation, recently told Russia Today that the design of a new engine takes five to seven years.
However, despite the current restriction on supplies from the West, Russia will be able to establish production much faster, he said.
Requirements for building military helicopter engines are not as strict as with civil rotorcraft engines, he said. Fuel efficiency, for instance, is not a top priority combat helicopter engines in Russia, he said.