Russian Helicopters has begun marketing the Ka-32A11BC coaxial helicopter for more U.S. firefighting work. The helicopter has been used successfully in Chile and Mexico in this role, and one based in Canada was summoned last year to help battle a blaze in Idaho.
Russian Helicopters, the holding company that combines the country’s helicopter industry under one umbrella, has received EASA certification for the 11-metric-ton (24,000 pounds) Kamov Ka-32A11BC. Already flown by state organizations in Europe, the Ka-32A11BC is thus now available to commercial operators.
Looking beyond the current financial picture, the Russian aviation industry plans to increase helicopter production in the coming years, according to Andrei Reus, director general of Oboronprom. In fact, the Russian helicopter manufacturing industry aims to capture 15 percent of the world’s helicopter market by 2015.
Consolidation among European helicopter operators continues, with Heliportugal joining forces with French operator SAF Helicap, creating a fleet of nearly 50 aircraft.
Russia and South Korea are negotiating for the South Korean navy to take some Kamov Ka-32 helicopters to settle part of a debt owed by Russia to the Asian country. The proposed deal is part of wider Korean military plans to acquire up to 30 Russian helicopters of various types through 2012.
Exhibitors at January’s Iran Airshow 2005 indicated that the market for civilian helicopters in the Islamic Republic is growing. Local and foreign manufacturers and lessor companies reported a steady growth of the helicopter market.
Iranian customers have recently placed orders for 15 locally built Shahed-278 light helicopters, but suppliers from around the world see Iran as a market ripe for development. The interest reflects the growing demand for modern rotorcraft to support Iran’s flourishing oil, shipping and construction business industries, as well as for medevac and VIP travel.
Fires are a huge and growing problem in Spain and its islands, as they are throughout southern Europe. As many as 250 aircraft–the vast majority of them helicopters–are currently involved in fighting bush and forest fires around Spain. One of the country’s biggest contributors to this annual effort is Helisureste (HS), based in Alicante on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
LG International (LGI) this month is scheduled to open a new maintenance center for Russian helicopters at Seoul Gimpo Airport, with capacity for 24 major overhauls a year. Part of LG Group, LGI–which has 43 overseas offices and $18 billion in sales–focuses on Russian helicopters in South Korea.
Kamov delivered two more Ka-32A11BCs to Spain’s Helisureste on April 22, when mixed Russian-Spanish crews ferried the helicopters to Spain from Kamov’s flight-test base in the Moscow suburb of Zhulebino.