America Needs Russian Helicopters

Российский вертолет

Today, Helicopter engineering is one of the leading and most stable sectors of the Russian economy. This high-tech and knowledge-intensive industry maintained its competitiveness both in difficult post-Soviet times and during the global financial crisis.

Creation of Russian Helicopters Holding Company in 2007, which united all helicopter engineering enterprises, became a new stage in the development of the national helicopter engineering. Today, Russian Helicopters is one of the most stable Russian companies, successfully representing the interests of the country and the industry in the world market and showing a sustainable growth of production and financial performance. At the end of 2012, the supply of helicopters of various models increased by 10.7% and reached 290 crafts. According to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the revenue has grown by 21.0% up to 125.7 billion rubles. Russian Helicopters have a favourable image compared to other world leaders in helicopter engineering. In 2012, the Holding Company showed the best result in increasing the volume of supplies among the top three:  Russian Helicopters, Eurocopter, and Sikorsky. The firm order book of Russian Helicopters has reached 870 helicopters for a total of more than 388 billion rubles, as of August 2013.

Today, Russia is among the three leading world helicopter manufacturers with over 14% share in the world market. Now 100 countries all over the world operate about 8,500 of Russian helicopters.

By now, enterprises of Russian Helicopters Holding Company have manufactured 35% of the world fleet of combat helicopters, 17% of the world fleet of super-heavy helicopter with the maximum take-off weight of over 20 tonnes, and 56% of the world fleet of helicopters with moderate a maximum take-off weight of 8 to 15 tonnes.

One of the most promising markets for Russian-made helicopters is Latin America. Russian Helicopters Holding Company - a subsidiary of Oboronprom UIC being part of Rostec State Corporation  - has been traditionally present there, representing a wide spectrum of civil and military helicopters, which combine ease of use, reliability, ease of maintenance, and carrying capacity and flight altitude features. "The Latin American countries represent a rapidly growing and highly promising market. There are seven foreign missions - in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Cuba - and we continue expanding our presence in the region opening new markets," says Dmitriy Shugaev, Deputy General Director of Rostec. "South America has long been a loyal customer of Russian Helicopters. The new contracts signed are the proof that our military and civilian crafts are in great demand in many countries of the Latin American continent despite the severe competition from the world's leading manufacturers."

According to expert estimates, Russian-made helicopters occupy about 20% of the market of military helicopters in Latin America and only 2% of the market of civilian crafts, but this figure can rise significantly in the coming years. Helicopters are used as corporate, passenger, cargo, search and rescue crafts. They are also used to carry out special missions, at construction sites, in patrolling and fire fighting.

The new medium multi-purpose helicopter Ka-62 may have great prospects in the Latin American market. Ka-62 is developed in cooperation with leading manufacturers of major components and systems from other countries. This helicopter will have the Ardiden 3G engine by French company Turbomeca, and its transmission will be supplied by the Austrian firm Zoerkler.

The main areas of application of Ka-62 include passenger transport, rescue operations, as well as these in oil and gas industry. Due to its spacious and comfortable interior, which can accommodate up to 15 people, the helicopter is perfect for offshore and corporate transportation. In addition, Ka-62 is characterized by a high cruising speed and low vibration. As for the range/load feature, the helicopter has already been recognized as one of the best in its class. Completion of certification of Ka-62 is scheduled for the end of 2014. The first batch of helicopters will be delivered in 2015.

It is noteworthy that the first customers for Ka-62 were companies from the South America. At the end of 2012, they signed a contract for the supply of seven helicopters Ka-62 with Brazilian operator Atlas Taxi Aereo, and at MAKS-2013 air show a batch of five helicopters Ka-62 was ordered by Vertical de Aviacion from Colombia that has already ordered five Mi-171A1.

The contract signed with Vertical de Aviacion has become for Russian Helicopters the next step in the successful development of a commercial helicopter market in South America. It is the largest in Latin America commercial operator of Mi-8/17 helicopters with a fleet of 30 crafts.

Mi-171A1 has already been successfully operated in Latin America for several years. In 2005 the helicopter was certified in the Aviation Register of Brazil. In the same year, the first craft was delivered to the Brazilian company Atlas Táxi Aéreo. Used in severe environmental conditions for drilling activities of the leading oil company Petrobras in the rain forests of Brazil, Mi-171A1 helicopters are characterized by fail-safety and efficiency.

Moreover, within the framework of the contracts signed , Russian Helicopters Holding Company and Vertical de Aviacion will work together to certify Mi-171A1 in Mexico and Ka-62 in Colombia. In 2012, the Colombian aviation authorities have already successfully completed the procedure of confirmation (validation) of the IAC AR Type Certificate for Mi-171A1.

The medium multipurpose Mi-171A1 was created based on Mi-171 and belongs to the legendary family of Mi-8/17 helicopters. The helicopter is designed to carry up to 26 passengers and up to 4,000 kg of cargo. Two of these transport helicopters has already been certified in Brazil and are used by the oil and gas company Petrobras.

In addition to Mi-171A1, Brazil operates another Russian helicopter - Ka-32A11BC, which was first brought to the by Helipark Taxi Aereo in March 2012. The partners have bought it for commercial external cargo transportation to remote areas of Brazil in the Amazon Basin, and to be used in construction for development of infrastructure in the country, particularly in preparation for the World Cup 2014 and Olympic Games 2016 to be held in Brazil.

The helicopter is unique as an external cargo carrier and as a "flying crane" when assembling high-rise structures. The coaxial scheme of the carrier system of Ka-32A11VS has a number of important advantages in precision of hovering and manoeuvring the helicopter, which allows it to carry out installation work of high complexity. The helicopter is also equipped with fire-fighting equipment and can effectively fight fire using a water cannon in horizontal high-rise fire fighting activities.

As part of market promotion of new models of helicopters, Russian Helicopters Holding Company is successfully working on a new version of Mi-171A2. According to experts, its entry in the market will make Russia the leading manufacturer in the niche of middle-class helicopters for another 15-20 years. This brand-new multi-purpose helicopter will unite the unique service experience and advanced technical solutions. Serial production will start in 2015. Mi-171A2 already enjoys increased attention from potential customers.

At the Latin American exhibition and conference on aerospace and defence technologies LAAD Defence & Security 2013, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Russian Helicopters held an event for energy companies and oil and gas sector, where they presented the range of helicopters that are appropriate to the region's market. It was here, that they announced the plans for the possible organization of the service centre in Brazil and Argentina to support the Russian-made helicopter fleet operated in the region.

Through supplies of modern helicopters, Russian Helicopters Holding Company is opening new prospects for the commercial helicopter market in the South and Central America.