Russian Helicopters (part of State Corporation Rostec) and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) have signed a framework agreement to work together on creating an advanced heavy helicopter. The agreement was signed at the Moscow Kremlin today 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 Directorsof AVIC, Lin Zuoming.
The manufacture in China of a heavy-lift helicopter developed jointly by the two countries has been an important component of Russian-Chinese collaboration in the aviation industry, and today’s signing ceremony marks the start of practical work on the project. 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. “It is vital that the idea of building an advanced heavy-lift helicopter has been supported by the presidents of both our countries. We firmly believe that implementation of this project will open new horizons for collaboration between China and Russia.”
“Russian Helicopters is uniquely well-qualified when it comes to building heavy-lift helicopters,” Chairman of the Board of Directors of AVIC Lin Zuoming said. “The legendary Mi-26 type helicopters, for example, have no equals, and the Mi-26TS played an important role in the aftermath of earthquakes in Sichuan province in 2008 and 2013. I believe that working together with Russian Helicopters to create an advanced heavy-lift helicopter will prove to be a productive project and one that will have a positive influence on the development of China’s helicopter industry.”
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 finalising its figure. The parties plan to sign a general contract later this year.