Russian Helicopters and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) signed a framework agreement last week to develop an advanced heavy-lift helicopter.
The agreement was signed at the Moscow Kremlin in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping by the CEO of Russian Helicopters, Alexander MIkheev, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of AVIC, Lin Zuoming.
Under the agreement the parties will work on all areas of development and preparation to launch serial production of the new aircraft, named the Advanced Heavy Lift (AHL).
“China is one of the fastest-growing helicopter markets worldwide, and we are interested in establishing long-term multilateral strategic relations with China so that both sides benefit from working together on helicopter-building projects,” Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev said.
Experts estimate that demand for the new helicopter in China could exceed 200 aircraft by 2040. The AHL is planned to have a take-off weight of 38 tons, and to be able to carry 10 tons of cargo inside the cabin or 15 tons on an external sling. The helicopter will be designed to operate round-the-clock in hot climates, mountainous terrain and all weather conditions, and will be able to fly a highly varied range of missions from transportation to medevac, firefighting and much more.
As of now Russian Helicopters and AVIC have drawn up the preliminary technical specifications of the new helicopter and are continuing work on finalizing its figure. The parties plan to sign a general contract later this year.