September 24, 2020 By Helicopters Staff
Russian Helicopters, part of Rostec State Corporation, started production of the first Mi-171A3 prototype offshore helicopter, being built to carry up to 24 passengers. Flight tests of rotorcraft are scheduled to start in the summer of 2021 and the company expects to begin deliveries in 2022. The first Mi-171A3 is being built by several Russian Helicopters facilities in cooperation with the National Helicopter Center Мil&Kamov for avionics, as well as structural input from Kazan and Progress Arsenyev Aviation.
The main focus of Mi-171A3 will be to service offshore drilling rigs for companies in the fuel and energy sector. It will be capable of transporting people, freight, and carrying out search and rescue operations if necessary. The SAR capabilities will include the additional installation of equipment like on-board hoists and medical technology. Russian Helicopters explains operators that use the helicopter for SAR will be able to convert the aircraft at its own base.
“Unique solutions ensuring safety of flights over water have been developed for the first offshore helicopter in Russia,” said Anatoliy Serdyukov, Cluster Industrial Director, Rostec Aviation. “The helicopter’s onboard equipment provides for navigation in high latitudes and communication with sea-going vessels. The helicopter has an emergency floatation system and life rafts, and a special crash-resistant fuselage section has been developed for it. Separate parts of the helicopter are already being assembled.”
Serdyukov continues to explain the first rotorcraft for flight is to be assembled in early 2021 at the company’s Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. “In 2021, we plan to show the rotorcraft at MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon for the first time, as one of the most recent key developments of Rostec,” he said.
After being completely assembled, the helicopter will be transferred to NHC for the integration of avionics. Then a cycle of ground and flight tests will take place. Kazan Helicopters will make the helicopter’s cargo floor, which has been made similar to that of Mi-38. Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company is making parts of composite materials for the nose and board panels for the middle part of the fuselage section.
“Mi-171A3 is very much sought-after for offshore operations. The rotorcraft has been created as a result of cooperation among Rostec holding companies. Expanding hydrocarbon production on the Arctic shelf requires a fleet of reliable and modern helicopters, which can be operated in the most difficult weather and climatic conditions,” said Andrey Boginsky, Director General of Russian Helicopters. “Starting from 2022, we will be ready to hand over the first serial helicopters to the launch customer.”
Development of the Mi-171A3 began in 2018. The rotorcraft’s maximum takeoff weight is set to be rated at 13,000 kg, with the ability to carry up to 24 passengers and reach a maximum range of 1,000 km.
The helicopter is intended for operation in various environments, including maritime, tropical and cold climate, with ambient temperatures ranging between -50 С and +50 С. Mi-171AZ avionics will provide for automated and manual control of the helicopter at all stages of the flight, explains Russian Helicopters, from takeoff to landing, and automatic piloting is possible for both air routes and non-regulatory airspace, irrespective of the degree of ground-based radio navigation.