Russia and China will sign a heavy helicopter development contract by the year-end, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Andrey Boginsky said on Thursday.
“The memorandum was signed in May. Preparation of an intergovernmental agreement is currently underway, while the second part is to draft a contract between two business companies. We expect both documents will be prepared and signed by the year-end,” Boginsky said.
The Helicopters of Russia holding company (an affiliate of the Russian Technologies Corporation) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) have concluded a framework agreement on cooperation in creating a heavy helicopter of the future. The ceremony took place in the Kremlin in May. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xin Jinping were present at the event. Helicopters of Russia CEO Alexander Mikheyev and AVIC Board of Directors’ President Lin Zuoming inked the agreement. According to the document, Russia and China will cooperate in all efforts to develop the new heavy helicopter, called Advanced Heavy Lift (AHL) and its batch production.
“China’s helicopter market is one of the world’s fastest-growing, and we are interested in establishing long-term, all-round strategic relations with China for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in aircraft-building,” Mikheyev said. “It is very important the idea of building a new heavy helicopter has the backing of both countries’ governments. We are certain that the implementation of this project will open up new horizons of cooperation between China and Russia.”
Experts estimate China’s potential market at 200 helicopters till 2040. The AHL will have a lift-off mass of 38 tones, maximum commercial cockpit payload of 10 tons and the capability to carry 15-ton payload suspended externally. The helicopter should be able to operate in hot climates, in mountain areas and in any weather to perform a variety of missions: carry passengers and cargoes, evacuate people in distress and fight fires and so on.