Russia’s Mi-38 Heavy Helicopter Makes Dubai Debut
Russian Helicopters has bought its impressive Mil Mi-38 twin-engine heavy helicopter to Dubai for its international debut.
The 15.6-metric-ton Mi-38 rotorcraft will demonstrate its moves in a sedate but tightly flown display that belies its size.
Initially designed as a replacement for the Mi-8/17 family, Russian Helicopters is now pushing the aircraft for the VVIP role, highlighting the type’s large cabin and smooth flight characteristics.
The Mi-38 has had a tough upbringing. Conceived and designed in the 1980s by the Kazan Helicopter Plant, the aircraft finally flew for the first time in December 2003 but only managed to achieve certification 12 years later in 2015. At the time of first flight, Russian Helicopters had hoped to offer the helicopter with Western and Russian engine options, the second prototype powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127/TS. However, the plans to offer that engine have been shelved and development is continuing with the two Klimov TV7-117V engines driving the six-blade main rotor and four-blade scissor tail-rotor, similar to that found on the Mi-28 attack helicopter.
Range with internal fuel is up to 1,000 km and the aircraft can carry up to 5 tonnes of payload in the cabin or on an external sling load.
Roles for the aircraft include passenger transport for up to 30 people, long-range search and rescue as well as the aforementioned VIP task. A special VIP cabin with soundproofing has been developed to carry 11 passengers.
The aircraft appearing at Dubai is one of the first serial production aircraft that was displayed at the MAKS 2019 airshow in Moscow in August, where it was demonstrated to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Russian Helicopters has secured military interest in the platform with two Mi-38T variants ordered in July 2017 to support military testing of the aircraft for future missions.
The Mi-38’s debut comes as Russian Helicopters merges the Mil and Kamov design bureaus, teaming them up to become the National Helicopter Center, a move the parent says will get rid of administrative, legal and economic barriers currently in the way of cooperation between the two design teams. Russian Helicopters is also presenting the Ansat twin-engine utility helicopter at the show in a VIP configuration seating five people.
The Ansat was also displayed on the ground and in the air at the Paris Air Show in June.
The company is also showing off a full-scale model of its latest entrant to the small helicopter market, the coaxial 1.6-metric-ton VRT500 designed by VR-Technologies, a new subsidiary within the Russian Helicopters group. The aircraft, which is likely to use a Western engine, has been proposed as a first step toward urban air mobility.