Moscow. October 30. INTERFAX-AVN - A memorandum signed between Russia's
United Industrial Corporation Oboronprom and Chinese company AVICopter
in Moscow on Oct. 28 envisions the joint development and commercial
production of a heavy civilian helicopter with a designed takeoff weight
of about 30 tons, a source from the Russian military industrial sector
"The Chinese have been buying the heavy Mi-26 helicopters from us, but
they want to develop their own more state-of-the-art model and arrange
its production with our assistance," the source said.
China is interested in the joint project to build a heavy helicopter, as
well as obtaining a license to launch commercial production at its own
enterprises, he said.
The envisaged helicopter could be based on the Mi-46 helicopter
currently being developed by the Moscow Helicopter Plant, the source
"The Chinese market for such helicopters is about 300. Taking into
account the size of the country and its population, they plan to use
these helicopters for transporting passengers and cargo, and also in the
construction sector and in rescue operations - the recent earthquake in
Sichuan showed the need for building up the [country's] fleet of heavy
helicopters," he said.
The implementation of the project would help Russian helicopter
producers advance their R&D on heavy helicopters, the source said.
Russia is the only country in the world producing helicopters capable of
carrying 20 tons. European companies have only recently started working
in the area.
"In regards to the [other] protocol signed between the company
Helicopters of Russia and China National Aero-Technology Import and
Export Corporation (CATIC), it envisions the sale of four Russian Mi-26
heavy helicopters to China," he said.