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This year, Russian Helicopters Holding announced the launch of the production of the multipurpose Mi-171A2 helicopter. This helicopter is a modernized version of the Mi-8/17 model. The developers have included roughly 100 improvements and technological solutions.
The history of the legendary eight began more than 50 years ago: the mass production of Mi-8 was launched in 1965. Since then, Mi-8/17 helicopters have been in a strong demand as multi-functional, reliable and easy-to-use helicopters; they are used practically all over the world.
In 2009, Russian Helicopters launched a program of a full-scale modernization of the eight. The first implemented project was the creation of a certified civilian helicopter aimed at the passengers and cargo transportation.
As early as in 2014, the holding began flight tests of the first prototype of Mi-171A2. The aircraft successfully passed all autonomous plant and certification flight tests during 2014 to 2017.
This August, the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) issued to the Moscow Helicopter Plant, named after A.Ya. Mil, the reissued certificate of the type of Mi-171A helicopter, which includes a new model — Mi-171A2.
In total, Rosaviatsia has certified dozens of changes to the standard design of the helicopter. The main changes include, among others, the increase in the take-off mass of the helicopter to 13 tons in category A.
The integrated flight control and navigation complex for the development of RETC enabled the crew to be reduced from three to two. The modern avionics complex also expanded the scope of the helicopter: Mi-171A2 can be successfully used in high altitude, extreme temperatures and high humidity, day and night, in simple and difficult weather conditions.
The newest Mi-171A2 also received a powerful power unit — the machine is equipped with a VK-2500PS-03 gas turbine engine with a digital control system. Compared with the previous versions of Mi-8/17 helicopters, the carrier system has been improved. The carrier and X-shaped steering screws of Mi-171A2 are made of composite materials. This reduces the total weight of the system and increases the propeller thrust by 700 kilograms. In addition, cruising and maximum speed increased by 20 percent, and the range of flight increased to 800 kilometers (497 miles).
The Mi-171A2 helicopter is notable for fulfilling a wide range of tasks: it can be produced in transport, passenger, fire, search-and-rescue, medical evacuation and VIP-configurations. According to experts, the machine has a huge potential, both on the Russian market and abroad.
The first Mi-171A2 operator in the domestic market was one of the largest operators of helicopter equipment in Russia — UTair. Within the MAKS-2017 airshow, Russian Helicopters Holding and the airline company signed an agreement on the transfer of two Mi-171A2 helicopters to trial operation.
In addition, it is expected that the new model will find application in foreign markets, primarily on the market that is traditional for the holding — in the CIS countries, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Latin America.
Most recently, at the Dubai Airshow 2017, Helicopters of Russia Holding concluded the first export contract for Mi-171A2. The foreign operator of the new aircraft will be Indian Vectra Group. Under the terms of the contract, the Mi-171A2 will be transferred to Indian customers in 2018.