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,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev (photo).
“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,” he added.
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.
Russian Helicopters, (part of State Corporation Rostec), is one of the global leaders in helicopter production and the only helicopter design and production powerhouse in Russia.
Founded in 2007, the company comprises five helicopter production facilities, two design bureaus, a spare parts production and repair facility, as well as an after sale service branch responsible for maintenance and repair in Russia and worldwide.
Its helicopters are popular among Russian Ministries and state authorities (Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Emergency Control Ministry), operators (Gazpromavia, UTair), major Russian corporations. In 2014 its IFRS revenues increased 22.8% to RUB 169.8 billion. Deliveries reached 271 helicopters.