Russian Helicopters delivered 213 helicopters in 2017 and performed major repairs on 148 in 2016, according to the company’s recently released annual report. Deliveries within Russia comprised most of the demand; of that the majority was in the Mi-8/17 family with growing deliveries of Ansat light twins into the emerging domestic air ambulance market. The company received orders for 396 helicopters in 2017 and the order backlog was valued at $7.4 billion. It estimated its global market share at 11.5 percent. Finally, the report notes that it is transitioning to “life cycle contracts” on the sale of new and previously sold helicopters in cooperation with the country’s defense ministry.
Separately, the company said its VR-Technologies bureau had begun aerodynamic testing of its VRT500 light single-engine utility helicopter at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute. The company first displayed a full-scale mock-up of the VRT500 in May at HeliRussia. The five-place VRT500 features a coaxial main rotor system, extensive composite construction, glass-panel avionics, and sliding rear cabin doors. Preliminary specifications call for the VRT500 to have a maximum takeoff weight of 3,527 pounds, a payload of 1,600 pounds, a cruise speed of 124 knots, a service ceiling of 20,000 feet, and a maximum range of 410 nm. Russian Helicopters plans to market it in the U.S. and Europe and pursue EASA and FAA certification, with serial production projected for 2020 or 2021.