Below is a great analytical article on the future of Russian helicopter
Collage Andrew Grizzly
Transportation-passenger helicopters are perhaps the most versatile, because without fundamental improvements basic design can solve a wide range of tasks — from transportation of VIP-persons working in the Arctic and to extinguish fires and transfer units landing. Russia, one of the world leaders in this segment offers a line of helicopters Mi.
It is difficult to find a country in the world where nothing is known about the Kalashnikov assault rifle — it’s the star of world importance. Much the same can be said about the other world star — rotorcraft — Russian helicopter Mi-8. And if failsafe Soviet RPG-7 is often called the "magnificent seven", the Mil helicopters — a complete "great eight", a half-century of service-proven in all conditions. Arctic cold and hot deserts, high mountains and impassable taiga, and even a boat deck — all have to work helicopters Mi-8.
A separate question of military service. One can endlessly long list those armed conflicts in which "eight" had to take an active part, but it is better to give the floor by the participants, such as the Indian helicopter pilots, who have made a significant contribution to the victory in Kargil armed conflict that took place in a mountainous area of the sector of Jammu and Kashmir in May — July, 1999.
During repel the aggression of large forces and militants in Pakistan regular army units totaling more than 2,000 people who had infiltrated into the Indian territory at 10-12 kilometers to 160 kilometers — at the front, the Indian military leadership is actively used aircraft and most importantly — the helicopters. Moreover, due to the fact that in-house IAF attack helicopters were unable to solve the problem of direct fire support of infantry in the high mountains, the Indian commanders drew Mi-17 helicopters. Actions such machines, armed with four blocks of 16 or 32 rockets have proven very successful: they put a lot of fortified emplacements, destroyed a large number of militants, as well as ammunition and equipment of the enemy. Overall, the Indian helicopter sorties carried out in 2185 total flying 925 hours, carried more than 800 people and 300 tons of cargo, evacuated 600 wounded.
One of the officers of the 129th Helicopter Squadron, recalled: "After a sleepless night, during which we hung on six Mi-17 blocks of 57-mm rockets and machine supplied with the necessary number of containers with heat traps, we were ready for the operation. Each helicopter had four blocks with 128 missiles. Over the next two days we applied fire strikes on enemy positions in the area of Mount Tiger and Tololing peaks. May 28, 1999 our unit consisting of four Mi-17s were ordered to hit the mark 5140, located two kilometers north of Tololinga. We took off on schedule and everything went flawlessly. Despite a serious fire from the ground, my helicopter struck around 5140 by two missile salvo of 64 rockets. Almost simultaneously we have to apply the "Stingers". Two rockets fired from different angles, were very close to our helicopter. The other three helicopters piloted by Major Aviation Verma, Lieutenant Malihanom and Major Aviation Nitish also completed the task, firing 128 missiles. "
It was after the Kargil conflict, the Indian Air Force Command announced the urgent need to adopt a shock and multi-purpose helicopters capable to operate effectively at high altitudes — at altitudes of 6,000 meters or more. Already in May 2000, the Indian Defense Ministry has placed a large order for the modernized Mi-17-1V, and February 17, 2012 On a new chapter chronicles years of military service, "eights" in India: at the air base, "Palam" was the official ceremony adopting the first 20 of a new type of helicopters — Mi-17V-5. Emphasizes the importance of the ceremony involved in her defense minister AK Antony and Air Force Commander Air Chief Marshal NA K Browne. The Russian side was represented by General Director of "Rosoboronexport" Anatoly Isaykin, noting that "projects such as contracts for the supply of Mi-17V-5, are key elements in the relationship privileged strategic partnership, which is the relationship between Russia and India." Deliveries are scheduled to complete in 2014. And the Indian media claim that "almost solved" the issue of buying another 71 Mi-17V-5.
The new millennium — a new car
Helicopters Mi-8/17 family is still strong demand in Russia and abroad, the geography of their "habitat" is growing. So, in October 2011 in the media mentioned the completion of the delivery of six Mi-171SH for Peru — they have a number of new systems that have improved the efficiency of combat use, and feature set of tools of protection against major systems and the helicopter crew and a modern avionics for day and all-weather use. Helicopters have two sliding doors and electro-ramp — 26 commandoes can leave the helicopter for seven or eight seconds.
However, customers experiencing particularly heavy pressure "hand of the market" civilian operators, constantly make high demands for helicopters. Realizing the need for further improvement of the family Mi-8/17, specialists of JSC "Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "developed a program of deep modernization of Mi-171 (Mi-8AMT), which was approved in March 2011. The basis was taken Mi-171A1, and the emphasis is on upgrading to a significant increase in the technical and economic characteristics of the machine and reduce the cost of its maintenance and the cost of flying hours. In the future, the Mi-171A2 has become the main production and modification of the family, according to Executive Director of JSC "Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "Michael Karatkevich, for at least 10-15 years, Russia has to provide high sales in this segment of the market.
In January 2012 OAO "Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "started the assembly of the first prototype of the upgraded medium transport helicopter Mi-171A2. Distinctive features of the Mi-171A2 — new turboshaft engines VC-2500PS-03 APU "Safir» 5K / G, composite main rotor and X-shaped tail rotor, and a modern complex avionics CCD-17 and a significant increase in the designated overhaul and machine resources and its major systems. Payload mass inside the cabin — 4000 pounds, an external load — up to 5,000 pounds, the maximum speed reaches 280 km / h and cruising — 260 km / h.
The first experimental helicopter — OP-1 is constructed in the base case configuration, and OP-2 will already have maximum configuration — the beginning of its assembly is scheduled to end in 2012. Completion of the certification test and start mass production of the upgraded version is scheduled for early 2014.
Succeeded by "eight"
The first Mi-8 for many years served faithfully and military and civil operators, but by the early 80’s basic "civil" model is largely outdated. Realizing that far outdated car did not leave the Soviet leadership July 30, 1981 decided to create a new transport and passenger medium-lift helicopter — Mi-8M, putting one of the main requirements of a good software developer, to the modern global standards profitability trucks / passenger traffic. For these purposes, provided the use of advanced engines TV7-117, composite blades and an elastomeric rotor head, X-shaped composite
tail rotor, improved aerodynamics fuselage, as well as a modern flight control and navigation system, and a number of other innovations.
The degree of novelty was so high that in 1983, the helicopter was given a new designation — the Mi-38. His appearance was formed by 1990, the rookie had to surpass the veteran by weight of cargo by 1.8 times the performance — to 2-fold, and fuel efficiency — by 1.7 times. For the first time in the history of the national helicopter from the beginning to the machine certification by domestic and foreign airworthiness standards. And then came the "thunder" — the collapse of the Soviet Union, the severe economic crisis, unsuccessful attempts cooperation with foreign helicopter manufacturers, and only December 22, 2003 in Kazan, first flew the first prototype of Mi-38 (OP-1), equipped with engines of PW127TS " Pratt & Whitney. "
However, long-term "stagnation" in the program in no way affected the ability of helicopter — the first phase of testing will allow the developer to declare that the targets set out in the terms of reference, has significantly exceeded. In particular, the speed and altitude: it was reached a maximum speed of 320 km / h, and at take-off weight of 11.1 tons helicopter was able to reach a height of 8170 meters.
"Development Program for the Mi-38 is an extremely important not only for the holding company" Helicopters of Russia ", which includes our company, but also for the country as a whole, — says General Designer of" Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "Alex Samusenko. — As a result of meetings with representatives of different companies — potential operators, we have a very positive response. Representatives of the companies were, one might say, surprised at the technical solutions that are implemented by helicopter to facilitate the activities of aircraft units of the customer — both flight and ground crews. "
And caused "difficulties" with foreign engine manufacturers have forced the Russian government to take a policy decision — to step up work on the version of the helicopter with Russian engines (TV7-117V company "Klimov") to avoid any dependence on foreign supplies.
"This is the general ideology of the project, — says Alexei Samusenko — the helicopter will have two versions of the power plant, which, we believe, will be more or less affect the price of production helicopter, and will to the extent necessary to attract Russian Operator with both civilian and from the power block. "
In addition, Russian engines allow to increase the maximum take-off weight of 600 kilograms helicopter — to 16.2 tons, the maximum mass of cargo — up to 6 tons in the cabin and 7 tons on the external load, while the maximum speed with a normal take-off weight — 14.2 tons — will be 310 km / h and reaches a range of 1000 kilometers.
Work on the creation TV7-117V power take-off 2800 l. s. and up to 3750 liters. s. to emergency mode, designed for helicopters Mi-38, received a high priority in the plans as JSC "Klimov", and the entire United Engine Corporation. In 2011, the two assembled at JSC "Klimov" flight pattern TV7-117V were transferred to OAO "Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil ‘to be installed on the first prototype helicopter — Mi-382, demonstrated on static at MAKS-2011 and planned to start of flight testing this year. This year the company "Klimov" to put two more TV7-117V on the Kazan Helicopter Plant — they will install a third flying prototype of the Mi-38.
Feature of the second flying prototype — whether it contains a full complement of new integrated complex avionics IBKO-38 development "Transas", unified by the basic components of the complex IBKV-17 for the upgraded "eight" and providing flight operations day and night in different geographical and climatic conditions — in automatic and manual modes-director control helicopter. The complex has an open architecture, allowing you to include additional wireless system and optoelectronic equipment, as well as to introduce new modes of displaying information.
Certification of the Mi-38 to be completed in 2014 and from 2015 on, he should begin flowing to customers. And as part of the Mi-38 for the first time in the history of the national helicopter along with the development and creation of the helicopter comes under it a simulator — the layout of the simulator development company "Transas" can be seen at MAKS-2009. It will not only simulate the cockpit as such, but also the mobility of the helicopter — that is, the responses to the actions of government, zakabinny simulate the situation.
"In general, we have been able to realize in the new car design and other solutions to rightly be called the Mi-38 helicopter of the XXI century — the general designer of" Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "Alex Samusenko. — It is a modern electronic equipment, and the latest various structural materials, particularly composites comprising more than 30 percent of the total amount of structural material used in a helicopter. And it is made of composites such sensitive elements of the construction of any helicopter, the blades and tail rotor and fuselage. And all this, of course, in no way comes at the expense of safety. Moreover, the new machine will have increased resources and calendar dates of service, and we even assume that the Mi-38 will not have restrictions on the resource — it will fly on technical conditions. Strictly speaking, the flow of Mi-38 helicopter at the disposal of Russian operators will lead to a qualitative change in the approach to use. After all, if today is the Mi-8 every seven or eight years have to change the rotor blades, in respect of the Mi-38, we believe that this will not have to do that. "
The power of time-tested
Speaking of multi-purpose vehicles and helicopters of Mi, we can not ignore the Mi-26 — a unique helicopter is still the most hoisting machine of its class in the world. Corporation "Boeing" in 70 years, the program HLH (Heavy Lift Helicopter — «Heavy Transport Helicopter") tried to create for the U.S. Army CCF-62 helicopter maximum takeoff weight of 53,524 pounds (maximum takeoff weight of the first Mi-26 — about 56 tons), but for a number of technical reasons, and otherwise the program was closed. Finally, when in 2002 the Americans became necessary to evacuate from the mountainous regions of Afghanistan two helicopters "Chinook", just Mi-26T was able to solve the problem — it cost the Pentagon’s budget is 650 thousand dollars.
The Mi-26 can be rightfully called a veteran — the first production aircraft took to the air in October 1980, but even after three decades of change and it is not even in sight. However, time is relentless — technology with its flow is gradually aging, and technically and mentally, so it is necessary to constantly upgrade. The Mi-26 is no exception, so a few years ago at the initiative of "Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "program has started an improved version of the" Russian heavyweight ", which was given the designation Mi-26T2.
"As part of the modernization program we have planned replacement of the engine, the installation of new navigation and piloting complex revision rotor head — to remove grease points, as well as the installati
on of new board defense, able to counter missiles with heat seeker — the general designer of" Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. Mil "Alex Samusenko. — Upgraded Mi-26 submitted for the tender announced by the Ministry of Defence of India, have demonstrated our car to a potential customer, and cut off almost all the characteristics, including operation in the mountains. "
Helicopters will receive an upgraded engine D-136-2, which is designed Zaporozhye enterprise "Ivchenko-Progress" and will have a maximum take-off power of 11,650 hp. with., additional emergency mode with short-term increase capacity up to 12,500 liters. s. (At temperatures up to 30 degrees C) and is equipped with modern digital control (FADEC).
A distinctive feature of the new helicopter — shortened to two pilots and crew of the new avionics. The developer had a difficult task — to create an interface "crew — Equipment", which would guarantee the provision of safe flight under various conditions. By and large, it is about creating an efficient and reliable machines around the clock application, which has reduced the crew and equipped with modern avionics based on a set of avionics, which is the basis for navigation and piloting complex with electronic display system, the onboard digital computer, satellite navigation system and Digital piloting complex.
The complex provides round the clock use of the helicopter and adverse weather conditions, and provides the ability to perform under these conditions, automatic flight on the route — with access to a predetermined point, the approach and final approach maneuvers and return to the primary and alternate aerodromes. In addition, the avionics Mi-26T2 integrated clock surveillance system GOES, system backup devices, a modern communications system and on-board control system. Mi-26T2 will be able to fly at any time of day, and adverse weather conditions, including over bezorientirnoy areas.
Mi-26T2 was originally created for the civilian market, but a keen interest in car causes and military operators. On the Indian tender has already been mentioned, but starting a military customer could become and the Russian Ministry of Defense. Last already buys — for the first time in the last decade — the new Mi-26 in its basic configuration (in 2011 received four helicopters), but the version of Mi-26T2 has more potential due to round the clock application and the ability to carry a military transport version 82 paratroopers and in the version sanitary or when participating in disaster relief — up to 60 injured (patients).
With the help of a helicopter can also carry out construction works of varying degrees of complexity or perform rapid delivery of fuel and autonomous refueling of various equipment on the ground, and perform fire fighting, that for Russia, given the recent summer fires is very important. Compare — fire version of the Mi-26T is equipped with a weir-15 APU unit capacity of 15 tons, while the fire Mi-8 and Ka-32 have a spillway devices 2.5-5 tons. Moreover, the main "winged fire" — Be-200ES can take to their tanks up to 12 tons, but the harder and more expensive to operate than a helicopter. It should be added that the Be-200ES in the park of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations units, and fire protection option if necessary to convert dozens of Mi-26 in service at the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Defense.
In general, the Mi-171A2, Mi-38 and Mi-26T2 — a "triple shock" in the model number of the holding company "Helicopters of Russia", able to take a significant share of the world market.