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Russian Helicopters working on high-speed helicopter programme

09.07.2012 / Interfax-Military News Agency

Farnborough, UK.9 July.Interfax-Military News Agency – Russian Helicopters has completed a feasibility study for an advanced new high-speed helicopter dubbed the Russian Advanced Commercial Helicopter (RACHEL), the company’s CEO Dmitry Petrov told journalists.

“We are convinced that cost efficiency is the main competitive advantage for any technology in the modern world. Achieving maximum return from commercial use has been the cornerstone of our efforts to develop the concept for this new advanced helicopter," Petrov said at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Petrov said that market research conducted in collaboration with helicopter operating companies had helped Russian Helicopters to identify the key features of the advanced helicopter and embed a number of concepts in the design programme to create an optimal balance of technological innovation with a minimal environmental footprint and maximum economic efficiency.

One of the main priorities for the RACHEL project is thus to minimise direct operating costs and ensure that the helicopter is priced at an acceptable level for operators, Petrov said.

Russian Helicopters plans to create an advanced multi-role commercial helicopter weighing 10-12 tonnes and targeted at the commercial aviation market. The passenger version will be fitted with a comfortable salon able to accommodate 21-24 people. Other specialised versions will be developed to carry out search and rescue, patrol and medevac missions. The new model is intended to replace the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters. Alongside the heavier Mi-38, it will reinforce the Company’s position in its main markets in the medium term.

The basic model will be a medium-weight, multi-role helicopter with a convertible cabin for transporting passengers and cargo, and suitable for off-shore operations. It will be equipped with an advanced avionics suite and a next-generation main rotor system, and will have a longer flight range and higher cruising speed than the Mi-8/17.

During the first stage of the feasibility study, Russian Helicopters’ Mil and Kamov design bureaus submitted designs for the new advanced helicopter on a competitive basis. Both designs were approved by the Company. As a result, Russian Helicopters decided to pursue a twin-track research and development programme with features from both proposed versions.

The Company has carried out market research, identified technical priorities and key features for the new helicopter, and assessed the feasibility of the technical requirements. A full assessment of the programme’s technical, organisational and financial risks has also been carried out.

Dmitry Petrov said that the analysis revealed high interest from helicopter operating companies in a Russian advanced helicopter and helped to identify their key demands for such a model.

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