DUBAI AIRSHOW NEWS: Russia, China Begin Cooperation on Helicopter Program
Alex Beltyukov photo
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Russia's main helicopter manufacturer will kick off a new partnership with China by beginning work on an aircraft in December, its top executive confirmed Nov. 15 at the Dubai Air Show.
Andrey Boginsky, JSC Russian Helicopter's director general, declined to give many details on the reported partnership with the Chinese government to build a new helicopter. Some media reports have stated that it will be a heavy lift aircraft. He also declined during a press briefing to confirm whether it would be based on the company's Mi26 transport helicopter.
He did, however, estimate that work would begin on the partnership as early as next month. “We’ve finalized all technical questions,” and the next step will be the preparation to start to develop it, he said.
“We are in the final stage to start the work because we spent a lot of time before to prepare it, and they were ready to start off this work,” he said.
Meanwhile, Boginsky said the company will continue to focus on the Asian and African markets for its aircraft. While the Mi28 is intended to serve a global market, there is increased demand in Africa and Asia because of the platform’s ability to master the region’s geography, he said.
The company's modernized Mi28 attack helicopter — on display abroad for the first time at the Dubai Airshow — and the Kamov Ka-52 twin seater military helicopter — are already serving in Egyptian and Algerian fleets, said Boginsky.
“A [Ka-52] is very good on the sea and in regions close to the sea and mountains because it’s very, very stable,” he said.
Egypt’s Ka-52s officially entered service in 2018, while the Algerian military’s fleet is still pending as it purchased more than 40 Mi-28s last year. Both helicopters are already in use by the Russian armed forces, he noted.
India is also considering procurement for the military helicopter. It's military signed an intergovernmental agreement with Russia for 200 Ka-226T light utility helicopters. The U.S. Defense Department has criticized India for its procurement of Russian missile defense system S-400.
The Indian’s Ka-226T Army’s purchase is still going through the negotiation process, he said. India’s indigenous content requirements have caused negotiation hick-ups between the two countries, he added.
Russia is ready to cooperate in the procurement processes because countries such as Saudi Arabia are also interested in the company's helicopters and in gaining local investments, he noted, referring to possible offset agreements, which would call for some manufacturing to be done locally.
“We are open for cooperation because Saudi Arabia is interested in this helicopter and we had information that [they] are interested for some cooperation for localization too,” he said.
Topics: Air Power