Russia, China to Develop Massive Heavy-Lift Helicopter

Russian Helicopters and China’s state aircraft manufacturer AVIC have entered a framework agreement to develop a heavy lift helicopter.

Russian Helicopters’ chief executive Alexander Mikheev and AVIC chairman Lin Zuoming signed the deal during a visit to Moscow by Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was present at the ceremony along with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“The manufacture in China of a heavy-lift helicopter developed jointly by the two countries has been an important component of Russian-Chinese collaboration in the aviation industry, and today’s signing ceremony marks the start of practical work on the project,” says Russian Helicopters in a statement.

“Under the agreement the parties will work on all areas of development and preparation to launch serial production of the new aircraft, named the Advanced Heavy Lift (AHL).”

Sino-Russian 20+ ton Heavy-lift Helicopter
Sino-Russian 20+ ton Heavy-lift Helicopter

The AHL will have a takeoff weight of 38-tonnes, and be able to carry 10-tonnes internally and 15-tonnes on an external sling. It will be able to operate in all weather and terrain conditions. Key missions include transportation, medical evacuation, and firefighting.”

By comparison, the Mil Mi-26, the world’s largest helicopter, can carry a payload of over 20-tonnes.

Russian Helicopters and AVIC foresee a potential market for 200 units, mainly in China. Preliminary technical specifications have been laid down, and the two companies will sign a contract later in 2015.