Great article about helicopters


2010 was a record year in helicopter production in Russia for more than a decade and a half. Company formed in 2006 under the auspices of the corporation "Oboronprom" holding company "Helicopters of Russia" produced and delivered 214 cars to customers of all types. Thus, in 2003 the volume of production of helicopters has increased three times, and since 2006 (when they were created "Helicopters of Russia") — by 2.5 times. It is safe to say that this figure will be significantly exceeded in 2011 — according to the forecast, is expected to produce up to 260 helicopters. The revenue of "Helicopters of Russia" from 2006 to 2010 increased by 2.1 times, reaching $ 2.2 billion. In this case, the profitability of production is very high for the engineering of 10-12 percent.

The basis for this growth was the long-awaited deployment of serial production of new types of military helicopters for the state defense order, and a significant strengthening of the provisions of domestic helicopters in the world market and the growth of export orders.

In 2010, exports of Russian helicopters still exceeded domestic sales — though in 2011, as expected, due to the continuing increase in defense contracts this situation finally changed in favor of domestic supply. Meanwhile, the Russian helicopter exports in recent years has also accelerating. In 2010 alone, the number of exported helicopters has increased by 30 percent. This is primarily due to the successful sales of helicopters Mi-8/Mi-17 series, which became a best seller authentic Russian helicopter.

Specialization moderate
The peculiarity of the helicopter in the USSR was the dominance in the production of medium and heavy vehicles of classes and the poor development of light helicopters.

In the 60s and in the national economy and the armed forces were used mainly medium transport helicopters Mi-8, producing the most massive series. On the basis of the Mi-8 was created and the main Soviet attack helicopter Mi-24. In the same class are and Kamov helicopter design with coaxial screws — Marine Ka-25, Ka-27 and Ka-29, Ka-31 and Ka-32 civilian. Actively issue was conducted and heavy transport helicopters (Mi-6 and Mi-10, Mi-26 then).

The use of light helicopters, compared with Western countries, the Soviet Union was of relatively limited — private and business aviation in the Soviet Union was absent, and in light of the Soviet military helicopters were not used practically. After the decommissioning of the piston Mi-4 in the USSR completely absent class helicopters intermediate capacity between Mi-2 and Mi-8.

Started from the end of the 80s the development of helicopters and light middle class due to economic shocks have had limited results. Release of the Mi-34 was a limited-edition, and the helicopter is now demanding a redesign. Until not too large-scale series production in recent years have brought only light Ka-226 and "ANSAT" Ka-60/62 development continues.

Thus, the Russian helicopter with rulers medium and heavy helicopters occupies a unique niche in the world market. In this class of competition in the market is fairly limited, and Russia has the exhaust is well known products with favorable price characteristics. It is a medium transport helicopters family Mi-8/17, heavy transport helicopters Mi-26 combat helicopters Mi-24, coaxial medium helicopters Ka-27/28/32. All these machines basically were created in the sixties and seventies, repeatedly modernized. Recently went into series production of the new generation combat helicopters Mi-28, H-52 and Ka.

Flying "Kalashnikov" — MI-8
Medium transport helicopter Mi-8 is available for more than 40 years and is the "workhorse" of Russian armed forces and the national economy and the business card of the domestic aviation exports. Production of different options modify the Mi-8 MTV (export designation Mi-17) with series engines TV3-117 continued at the Kazan helicopter and Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The machine is constantly being improved (including parallel forces of both companies), resulting in a large number of options, including transport-combat, such as Mi-171 Sh. Since the 90’s, both annual plants in total were produced from 70 to 100 machines of the family, most of which (about 90 percent) were exported to the military or civilian customers. In recent years, the volume of shipments grew, total production in 2009-2010, more than 150 helicopters per year, with the prospect of growth.

Powerful lifting, unpretentious and relatively inexpensive Mi-8/Mi-17 are widely demanded by military and civilian customers in many regions of the world. The Western press helicopters Mi-8/17 by popularity, prevalence and simplicity is sometimes compared with other "significant" product of the Russian defense industry — a Kalashnikov. This is the reason.

The main reason for the popularity of the Mi-8 MTV/Mi-17 in the global market (especially in developing countries) is their low price. They cost less than $ 10 million per car, depending on the configuration, which is two to three to four times cheaper than Western counterparts (Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk and S-92, Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma and EC725 Cougar), which the Mi-17 to the is superior in carrying capacity. In connection with the recent purchase of three Mi-17 Thailand (for $ 29 million), one Thai soldier gave the following comparison: "We bought three Mi-17 for the price of one Blackhawk. In this case, one Mi-17 can carry more than 30 troops, while the Blackhawk — only 13. "

At a conceptual level, the successful continuation and expansion of sales Mi-8/17 due to the fact that it remains one of the few remaining in the manufacture of machinery, opposing the current trends of rapid growth in the value of helicopters. Instead of simple and relatively cheap helicopter symbols which, in addition to the Mi-8 was an American UH-1H and French Alouette II and III, and in the production of weapons now in the West come more expensive machines of special design. They are made with extensive use of composite materials and equipped with powerful engines, around the clock and navigation systems, digital avionics, advanced self-defense complexes, a variety of optional equipment and armament. The cost of such vehicles approaching the cost Squadron UH-1H or Mi-8 MTV. As a result, even the armies of many developed countries can not afford to purchase a sufficient number of new generation helicopters, and the helicopters themselves are losing an important role cheapest vehicle of the battlefield — a kind of "consumables" of the war.

As a result, the armed forces of many countries (not excluding this is not the last country in the world, such as the UK) are going through "Helicopter crisis," particularly aggravated in connection with participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No wonder that the military campaign of the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan have given rise renaissance sales Mi-8/17 series machines. In the operations in these countries’ flying Kalashnikovs "proven best side, causing the helicopter fleet of restored very many Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan is generated through purchases of new Mi-17 helicopters.

Initially, the Americans started modestly covered the massive purchases of Russian Mi-17 military aircraft to Iraq and Afghanistan by the use of any intermediary companies from Ukraine, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. Recently, however, masks were dropped, and for Afghanistan, the Pentagon began to make direct purchases of these machines in Russia at his
own expense, signed in early 2011, a contract for the purchase of 21 Mi-17. The latter caused outrage in the U.S. Congress, but the Americans simply choose not anything else — their Blackhawk many times more expensive.

Mi-17 helicopters have been actively taking and other members of the Afghan campaign — from a member of NATO Canada to turn up his nose until recently from the "Soviet" machinery of Poland and other countries of the former Warsaw Pact.

Thus, the sale of the Mi-17 is now experiencing significant growth. In this stable major customers machines of this series are those of their traditional customers, such as China, India and Pakistan (the latter as part of China, the Russian aircraft delicately delivered by "civil" sign). Especially it is necessary to point out to India, signed in 2008 a contract for the purchase of 80 new Mi-17 helicopters, the supply of which was started in Kazan this year. Negotiations are under way about ordering another 59 machines. Launched a series of purchases of new cars Mi-17 CIS republics — Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Finally, the Mi-17 helicopters to find their way into more and more countries — to cite recent contracts with Argentina, Bolivia, Indonesia, Kenya, Thailand.

It is expected that, subject to continuous improvement Mi-8/17 series machines will be sold until about 2035. Work is under way and to create a radically updated version of the machine, referred to as the Mi-171 M, which is expected to be launched in the series in 2015.

Unique flying giant — MI-26
The heaviest in the world transport helicopter Mi-26 take-off weight up to 56 tons and carrying up to 20 tons is produced by the "Rostvertol" in Rostov-Don, and has no analogues abroad. Because of its uniqueness, the Mi-26 is still fairly strong demand: the supply of manufactured piece quantities for both civilian and military for foreign customers. Among the latter, the largest acted Venezuela, received in 2006, three Mi-26 T, and in the line of his civil regularly buy Chinese companies. Showing interest in acquiring a number of countries, including France and Brazil.

The main hope for the further promotion of the Mi-26 to the external market and increase its commercial appeal related to a modification of the developed Mi-26 T2 with a new set of avionics. Tests of the Mi-26 T2 started in 2011. This modification is involved in the Indian tender for 15 transport helicopters. Further development of the machine must be radically modernized heavy transport helicopter Mi-26 M, planned for launch in the series in 2015.

Coaxial helicopters Kamov of Kumertau
The plant is in the Bashkir Kumertau release Kamov design bureau developed a family of coaxial medium helicopters for maritime-based helicopter Ka-27. Since 1993, China was delivered at least seven anti-submarine helicopters Ka-28 (export version of the Ka-27 submarine) and three search-and-rescue Ka-27 PS, and in 2009-2011 — a further nine Ka-28 anti-submarine. India along with the aircraft carrier "Admiral Gorshkov" ordered another eight Ka-28 (in addition to the 19 obtained in the Soviet era). Planned from 2015 release of the updated version of the Ka-27, including for export. On the basis of the Ka-27 was created as the ship’s radar picket helicopter Ka-31. Launch customer for this type of production vehicles became India has received in 2003-2004, nine Ka-31 and under contract for aircraft carrier "Admiral Gorshkov" ordered another nine Ka-31. China ordered nine Ka-31 for delivery in 2010-2011.

In Kumertau produced and the civilian version of the Ka-27, designated the Ka-32, which has enjoyed a steady (albeit small) demand on the world market, mainly due to a combination of good performance with very low for the helicopter in its class (11-13 tons) price (4.6 million dollars). In the year abroad comes seven — ten cars Ka-32. The largest operator of South Korea became, received in 2011, mainly due to coverage of Russia’s debt to 60 cars (including seven in a search-and-rescue variant for the Air Force). Work is underway to create modified versions of the Ka-32.

Attack helicopters: the second life of the Soviet "oldies"
In the last decade and a half in former Soviet military operation Mi-24 helicopters have become one of the republics of the CIS export hits, especially in Africa, which is considered a kind of duty to get at least a couple of machines of this type. Traditional consumers of the Mi-24 are the state and involved in various conflicts. The attractiveness of the Mi-24, due to the possibility to obtain a complete effective fighting machine for only a few million dollars — while modern Western attack helicopters of the new generation (such as the Boeing AH-64D Apache and the Eurocopter Tiger) are astounding cost at least an order of magnitude comparable with cost of a modern fighter.

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are sold abroad more than 400 pre-owned helicopters Mi-24 series from the presence of his dwindling forces. However, the interest of customers to the machines of this series was so great that in 2000 the plant "Rostvertol" resumed production of the helicopters in the export version of Mi-35 — Gun Mi-35 P and then the more advanced clock modified Mi-35 M. With this Time for export delivered 41 Mi-35 M of new construction (Indonesia, Cyprus, Nigeria, Peru, the Czech Republic), 10 Mi-35M — Venezuelan elements, and is now being implemented contract for the supply of 12 Mi-35M Brazil. In 2010 was awarded a major contract to supply 24 machines Mi-35M Azerbaijan, but only at the end of the year guide "Rostvertol" announced a contract for delivery abroad is 30 Mi-35 P and 28 Mi-35 M.

In 2008-2009, began finally serial production for the Russian Armed Forces of the new generation of combat helicopters Mi-28 N (on "Rostvertol") and Ka-52 (Arsenyev Aviation Company "Progress" in the Far East). On the basis of drill designed Mi-28 export version of the Mi-28 NE. The car involved in the tender for the supply to India 22 attack helicopters, competing in it with the American AH-64D. Exhibit to the purchase of the Mi-28 NE interest Algeria, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and other countries. In early 2011, it was announced the availability of the first export contract for 12 Mi-28 N.

The management of "Russian Helicopters" connects the prospects for increasing its exports to the expansion of the proposed range of machines, which will foster the creation of new types of helicopters and upgrading existing ones. To date, the holding company developed an extensive program of work looking at the helicopter until in 2020-2025.

Particular attention is paid to launch a series of new transport helicopter Mi-38, which is due in part to replace the market Mi-8/17 series. In addition, the series is expected to launch in 2015 the average of the Ka-62.

Significant reserve increase sales is to enter the market of light helicopters. Here, Russia is promoting lung machine "ANSAT" (seven sold in South Korea, there are orders from Kazakhstan and Laos) and Ka-226 T (involved in the tender of the Indian Ministry of Defence for the purchase of 197 light vehicles). In the coming years, they should join the modernized version of the Mi-34 (Mi-34 and Mi-C1 34 C2). It can be expected that the ultimate refinement of all these machines and increase their service life and reliability will allow Russian suppliers to get "a piece" and in this segment of the market.

By 2020, "Russian Helicopters". plans to develop and bring to a series of three new types of commercial helicopters — heavy transport AHL (based on the draft MI-46), the average weight of the helicopter in the 4.5 ton class (based on project E-54) and a light helicopter in the weight class 2.5 tons. In addition, by this time
should be set up and brought entirely new perspective Marine helicopter Ka-65 (coaxial), radically modernized heavy transport helicopter Mi-26 (designation Mi-26 M), transport Mi-383 (the military version of the Mi-38 ), as well as unmanned helicopter complex. Finally, the program has started to create a fundamentally new advanced high-speed helicopter with the scheme with an additional pusher propeller, which is seen as a chance to make a qualitative leap in the scale helicopter.

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