Russia and China Establish Joint Venture For Helicopters

 - October 3, 2011, 4:40 AM
Having recently completed delivery of 32 Mi-171s to China, Russian Helicopters is now busy setting up a joint venture with that country. (Photo: Russian Helicopters)

Russian Helicopters established a joint venture with Avic’s helicopter division, Russian Helicopter general director Dmitry Petrov told AIN. The joint venture, Sino-Russian Helicopter Services, will initially provide technical support to all Russian helicopter models operating in China. It will subsequently develop repair and overhaul, and final assembly capabilities.

Speaking at the Aviation Expo 2011 in Beijing, Petrov said that the joint venture was already constructing a new production facility in Xingdao, with a decision on which type to produce expected by year-end. “The Chinese market is one of the largest for Russian Helicopters today and it will continue this way in foreseeable future. We are actively negotiating a number of cooperative programs and new deliveries,” he said.

Russian Helicopters just completed deliveries of 32 Mi-171 helicopters to the Chinese government. On September 21 the company signed another contract with the Chinese government, for a single Kamov Ka-31A11BC helicopter in fire-fighting configuration. “This is the first Ka-32 series machine that China has ordered. It is the same version as that we are now delivering to Russia’s Ministry for Emergencies,” Petrov said.

Earlier this year Rosoboronexport arms trade agency said that deliveries of nine Kamov Ka-31 ship-borne radar picket helicopters to China’s navy had been completed. But Petrov said that Ka-31 deliveries continue, thereby hinting at a follow-on batch of these machines.

Petrov also referred to the proposed joint development of a next generation heavy-lift helicopter. “We have already come to agreement on a number of very important issues. Our final offer is on their table,” he said. The takeoff weight would be 38 metric tonnes (101,800 pounds), which is somewhat lighter than the Mi-26. Negotiations to supply more Mi-26s were also taking place, he added. Four have already been supplied.

Petrov noted that Russia and China recently signed a number of agreements to defend property rights. This has eased fears that China would reverse-engineer Russian designs. “They tried to copy our helicopters in the past, but nothing good came out of it. It seems a lot more fruitful to them to get a proper license for local assembly,” Petrov concluded.