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HELI-EXPO: Russian Helicopters to decide on high-speed plans in 2014

27.02.2014 / Flightglobal / Stephen Trimble

Russian Helicopters will decide later this year whether to base its next commercial product on a high-speed or conventional rotorcraft, says chief executive Alexander Mikheev.

Addressing reporters at the Heli-Expo convention on 25 February, Mikheev said that the decision will be based on feedback from operators of Russian-made helicopters.

“We are considering whether the speed is necessary,” Mikheev says through a translator. “And also we are considering the feasibility and economy [of the aircraft] – the price of the flight hour. So we are considering which is the most important – the cost of the flight hour or the speed.”

If launched, the minimum speed for Russia’s high-speed rotorcraft would be 215kt (400km/h). “The high-speed helicopter is more than 400km/h,” he says. “These are considered high-speed ones.”

Russian Helicopters has carefully observed developments by Airbus Helicopters and Sikorsky in the area of high-speed rotorcraft for several years, he says.

“It’s clear that our design bureaus have capabilities to produce this high-speed helicopter,” he says. “We are considering whether high-speed is going to be in demand among the operators.”

Russian Helicopters also is considering a conventional design, but Mikheev did not elaborate on details or concepts for either approach.

Meanwhile, Mikheev says Russian Helicopters plans to fly the developmental civil Ka-62 helicopter in the second half of this year and the upgraded Mi-171A2 should enter series production within 1.5 years, Mikheev says.

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