Russian Helicopters will begin serial production of its newest helicopter, the MI-171A2, in the first quarter of 2017.
"Our challenge in the first quarter of 2017 is to get the certificate and launch mass production," Leonid Belykh, managing director of the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAZ) was quoted as saying by TASS.
It was reported earlier that Russian Helicopters Holding was preparing the fifth prototype model of helicopter MI-171A2 for certification tests. According to the company’s press service, the two flight models are already involved in the certification tests: the first one got off the ground in November 2014, while the second one had similar success in October 2015.
"Parallel tests were performed on a test aircraft based on the MI-8/17 serial. The third and fourth prototype models of the MI-171A2 have not undergone flight tests, because they are essentially bench models," a press statement said.
MI-171A2 is the newest representative of the family of MI-8/17 helicopters. The machine was demonstrated at the MAKS-2015 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, and this May the helicopter will be presented at the Crocus Expo at the 9th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition, HeliRussia 2016.
MI-171A2 is equipped with KBO-17, an integrated digital aircraft navigation system. This "glass cockpit", designed by KRET, allows the machine to be operated without an engineer on board, and the number of crew members can be reduced to two. The airborne equipment makes it possible to successfully operate the helicopter day and night, in all-weather conditions, as well as in over-water flights.
The rotor system has also undergone modernization. In particular, the MI-171A2 received a rotor and an X-shaped anti-torque rotor made of composite materials. The innovations have improved controllability and reduced the gross weight of the rotor system. In addition, cruising and maximum speed have grown by 20%, while the flying range has also been extended.
The MI-171A2 will be manufactured in transport, passenger, firefighting, search-and-rescue, medical evacuation, and VIP configurations.