Russian Helicopters Promotes Mi-34C1 Light Helo

 - February 15, 2012, 1:00 AM
Russian Helicopters is planning to start production of the aerobatics-capable Mi-34C1, which is designed to serve pilot training, police and power line surveillance roles.

Russian Helicopters is here at the Singapore Airshow (Booth No. U87) promoting its Mi-34C1 light helicopter, along with other models in its stable. Flight testing is under way and production is scheduled to start this year. The company expects to see strong interest in the type for missions such as pilot training, police and power line surveillance work.

The Mi-34C1 has a conventional, four-blade single rotor and a two-blade tail rotor that Russian Helicopters claims “greatly improves” flight stability. The aircraft’s metal airframe essentially is made of aluminum alloys and, to a lesser extent, steel and titanium alloys. It is powered by a 365-shp M9VF radial piston engine with a built-in gearbox and electronic ignition.

The fuel system can withstand negative g-forces, giving it aerobatic capability; the company claims the Mi34-C1 is the only light helicopter capable of 3-g performance. Its avionics suite allows for day and night operations in normal weather. Earlier this year, the helo maker announced that it would like to modernize cockpits across its product range through partnerships with Western manufacturers.

In other news, Russian Helicopters introduced the Mi-382, a version of its Mi-38 powered by two 3,750-shp Klimov TV7-117Vs instead of the less powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PWC 127/5 turboshafts at the Moscow Air Show last August. The company currently is flight-testing two prototypes of the new Mi-38 and another two prototypes are being completed. All four are equipped with IKBO-38 glass cockpit avionics from St. Petersburg-based Transas.

Certification of the primary passenger version with 32 seats is planned for next year, series production start for 2013 and deliveries for 2014. Mi-38 variants include military transport, special mission, cargo (with sling), medical and air surveillance.

The Klimov engine on the Mi-38 develops 3,750 shp at emergency power and 2,800 to 3,000 shp in takeoff mode. Today’s TV7-117V is a 3-D computer-aided design that retains the compressor and elements of the combustor from the original TV7-117, but features a completely new turbine and Fadec. Engine development continues and should be completed early next year, so the Mi-382 can be available by the end of 2013.

Russian Helicopters also recently unveiled its new Mil Mi-26T upgrade, which features an improved power-to-weight ratio and better handing characteristics in the flight regime. This version of the heavy-lift helicopter is competing against the Boeing Chinook for an order from India, which already operates four Mi-26s.

The Mi-26T2 is intended for both military and civilian customers and uses “some flight control algorithms already proven on the Mi-28N,” said Aleksei Samusenko, general designer at Mil. The model passed preliminary manufacturer’s trials this year, and certification trials are to start soon. Rostvertol, an Mi-26 manufacturer that fell under control of the Russian Helicopters in late 2010, is providing most of the funding.

The Mi-26T2 is powered by two Ivchenko-Progress D-136-2 turboshaft engines with Fadec, each developing 12,500 shp in emergency power mode and delivering an extra 250 shp in takeoff mode. The big helicopter features the BREO-26 digital avionics suite from the Ramenskoye PKB. It has a glass cockpit on five LCD displays, a digital autopilot and a Glonass-aided navigation system enabling IFR operations.

The upgraded model requires two flight crewmembers, down from five, but an additional crewmember is needed when cargo is carried on sling. A Transas TSL-1600 searchlight working in either standard or infrared mode allows better observation of cargo being carried on the sling.

Finally, Russian Helicopters is still re-evaluating options for raising fresh capital after abandoning a failed $500 million share flotation last year. The group, which brings together the famous Mil and Kamov design bureaus as well as Rostervertol, generated earnings of approximately $461 million in 2010, claiming a profit margin of 17 percent. Potentially, it might be a strong partnership option for an emerging aerospace nation wanting to break into aircraft development.