Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA Sept-Oct 2016 Contents 32 DefenceReviewAsia | SEPT-OCT 2016
house "a mini cluster of maintenance and repair
organizations". Playing down media reports of
frequent flooding in the area, Shibitov said: "this
particular site has never been suffering from the
waters". "For the moment, we will keep most of parts
manufacturing at the old location... The issue has
been thoroughly examined taking account of the
economic issues and flight safety".
Saving jobs at Kazan Helicopters requires multiple
approaches. Negotiations are being held with
foreign customers for earlier Mi-17 shipments under
previously placed orders and those being formalized.
This year Kazan Helicopters decreased production
rates "But [the plant] is making efforts to cut costs
to improve the attractiveness of its products in the
Instead of being fired, employees will be fulfilling
orders from the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
"This is a normal practice as far as the optimal use
of existing manufacturing capacity is concerned. The
plant is well equipped, and UAC can provide it with
some orders because it lacks such equipment at its
Earlier Russian Helicopters issued a statement
saying Kazan Helicopters needs to optimize expenses
for the current period of low liquidity, and that the
incomplete working week and other measures should
enable the plant to cut costs and yet ensure all orders
will be fulfilled in time and perspective products such
as the Ansat and Mi-38 are readied for production.
Russian Helicopters has acknowledged a worsening
situation with imported components for its products.
"The respective risks have been growing", the
company says in its report on the first quarter of
2016. At the end of the past year, the U.S. stiffened
its sanctions introduced in 2014 against Russian
companies and extended them to a large number of
defense equipment manufacturers.
"Also, the risks grow further as the vendors choose
not to deliver their [earlier] obligations in full reflecting
the [worsening] political situation". The Russian
Helicopters Company further says it can do little to
influence political decisions, and so has to accept the
growing risks. At the same time, the company tries to
reduce those risks by signing longer-term contracts
with suppliers. Besides, it is "permanently in a search
for alternative suppliers", and takes measures to
substitute import with local analogues.
The primary causes for concern are
2500-horsepower class engines made in the Ukraine.
All popular models -- Mi-28, Mi-35 and Ka-50/52
attack, Ka-27/28/29/31 naval and utility as well as
the prodigal Mi-8/17 family with newly built examples
coming off the line with Ukrainian-built TV3-117
Ukraine used to supply 250-270 turboshaft
engines a year to Russia before the annexation of
Crimea in 2014. Last year, this supply completely
terminated after the Ukrainian government
implemented stiffened export restriction measures.
The manufacturer has acknowledged engine
shortage as one of the causes for the problems.
Measures being made at the industrial level
include further localization of the Klimov VK-2500
broadly similar to the TV3-117 series, and setting up
manufacture of the more advanced TV7-117 falling in
the same class of power.
As mentioned above, the production output of
Russian Helicopters peaked at 290 rotorcraft in
2012, and then began to subside, to 271 in 2014
and 212 in 2015. Here, the trend of declining
customer interest in the Mi-8/17 family has been
further aggravated by the shortage of Ukraine-made
TV-3-117 series engines that power this model.
ENGINES MADE LOCALLY
The immediate measure taken in the wake of
shrinking TV-3-117 supply was to increase local
production of the VK-2500. The next move was to
expedite the production of the TV7-117V, which is
a more modern turboshaft engine design from St.
Petersburg-based Klimov design house. This engine
was developed specifically for the Mil Mi-38, but it
can be fitted into earlier rotorcraft designs that use
the TV3-117. In its statement released June 23, the
United Engine Corporation (ODK) says that the
target is to make over two hundred engines of the
TV7-117 engines in both turboshaft and turboprop
versions by 2020.
ODK stresses that the manufacture of the engine
is completely localized in Russia. A final assembly line
in St. Petersburg will use components supplied by
a number of ODK members including the Moscow-
based Salut and Chernyshyev plants. The TV7-117V
develops 2,800 hp at takeoff mode, and in case of
an emergency can increase the output to 3,750 hp.
"By fuel burn, lifetime and reliability, this engine is in
line with the best examples available on the global
market", the manufacturer says.
Traditionally, mainstream models of Russian
helicopters -- those with gross weight between 10
and 15 tons - come with engines built by the Motor-
Sich company based in Zaporozie, Ukraine. "There
are some good Ukrainian engines on the market,
but now we have the Klimov VK2500 of our own in
this class [2500hp]. The key question is to ramp up
production of these indigenous engines", says Andrei
Boginsky, deputy minister responsible for heavy
OFF THE SHELF
Measures aimed at boosting local production of
turboshaft engines go than just replacement of the
popular TV3-117 series. Russia's ministry for industry
and trade is putting together a program that would
promote the creation of advanced turboshaft engines
for medium and light helicopters. One of those will be
applicable to both the Kazan Helicopters Ansat and
All certified Ansat versions that come off
the production line are powered by 630-hp
Pratt&Whitney PW207Ks. Alexander Mikheyev,
general manager at Russian Helicopters, told
journalist at HeliRussia 2016 held in May 2016 that
"over sixty" Ansats were in service.
Most of those are with the Russian air force
flying schools in Syzran (the Russian air force has
Mi-38. Credit: V Karnozov
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