The new Mi-38-2 helicopter flew for the first time in public on the opening day of the MAKS airshow in Moscow late last month. The new model, developed by Russian Helicopters subsidiary Mil and built by its Kazan factory, is powered by 2,500-shp Klimov TV7-117V turboshafts. These Russian-made engines have replaced the original Mi-38’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127H turboshafts in response to a Russian government directive for the country’s manufacturers to be less reliant on Western equipment.
The new model, which first flew in October last year, also features larger cabin windows. With a maximum takeoff weight of 34,391 pounds and seating capacity for 32 passengers, the Mi-38 is somewhat larger than Mil’s existing Mi-17, giving operators a more flexible option beneath the larger Mi-26. The manufacturer is marketing the aircraft for Russian government applications in remote regions and for both passenger and cargo roles in the private sector.
According to Russian Helicopters deputy general manager Roman Chernyshev, the Mi-38 is expected to compete Russian type certification by year-end. The company expects to start deliveries to commercial operators early next year but has yet to name any customers.
“We are planning to commence deliveries of a VIP-configured Mi-38 starting around 2017-18,” said Chernyshev. “It will be a more expensive helicopter than the [VIP-configured] Mi-17, but will offer more comfort for passengers. Besides, it will be less expensive to operate than Western rivals because of lower direct operating expenses, and the cost and availability of spares and maintenance.”
The Mi-38-2 will have a high-speed cruise of around 162 knots, allowing for more cost-efficient operations, especially in supporting offshore oil and gas platforms. It also features the IBKO-38 glass-cockpit avionics suite from Transas.
At the MAKS show, Russian Helicopters also exhibited a newly certified version of the Ka-226T twin that is configured for emergency medical roles. The aircraft is powered by a pair of Turbomeca Arrius 2G engines. It had been hoped certification would be achieved in time for the new model to enter service with the Russian government Emercom emergency response agency during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, but this proved not to be possible.