Enhancing Their Arctic Capabilities: The Russians Add a Rotarywing Capability


2016-01-12  The Russians are building an Arctic capable rotorcraft fleet for commercial and military purposes.

Late last year, the Russian Defense Ministry took delivery of its first Mi-8 ANTSh-V for Arctic missions.

This version of the Mi-8 was developed for operations below -40C.

“The wealth of expertise we built up in the course of the development, production and testing of the Mi-8AMTSh-VA in the Far North is also going to be incorporated into the commercial model of this Arctic helicopter,” Alexander Mikheev, chief executive of Russian Helicopters, says.

“This helicopter is crucial to the development of transport infrastructure in Russia’s northern regions, and also to companies in the oil and gas sector to support offshore work.”

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The helicopter is equipped with a new Klimov VK-2500-03 engine and new digital avionics, which feature a new navigation system.

And the new engine also provides the Russians with freedom from reliance on foreign suppliers.

According to press release from Russian Helicopters on November 3, 2014:

Russian Helicopters (part of State Corporation Rostec) has completed modernisation work on Mi-8AMTSh-V helicopters, for delivery to the Russian Air Force under the State Defence Order, which are produced by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant incorporating the focus on import substitution. The latest Mi-8AMTSh-V has been praised by military pilots of the Mi-8AMTSh (export name Mi-171Sh). 

“We understand the importance of being as independent as possible from foreign-made components and units in the machines we deliver under the State Defence Order, and are focusing on this area of activity,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev.

“Further, the results of this work on the Mi-8AMTSh-V testify to the fact that using Russian-made equipment allows us to significantly improve the helicopter’s flight capabilities.” 

In order to reduce dependence on foreign suppliers, all Mi-8AMTSh-V helicopters are fitted with the latest Russian-made equipment.

The helicopter boasts more powerful VK-2500-03 engines produced by Klimov (part of United Engine Corporation).

The VK-2500-03 engines boast improved capacity, enabling them to noticeably improve reliability and safety during combat use, and improving their overall flight capabilities.

In addition, the Russian engines’ increased power positively impacts the helicopter’s operational costs. 

Another aspect of this modernisation work involves replacing the Ukrainian-made AI-9V auxiliary power units (APUs) with the Russian-made TA-14 produced at SPE Aerosila. The TA-14 boasts higher power, greater working time in generator-mode, and also better start and operation altitude indicators (6,000 m compared with 4,000 m for the AI-9V). The helicopter’s operational capabilities in mountainous terrain, from independent bases, are substantially improved. 

The helicopter is also fitted with a Russian-made on-board satellite navigation suite that is compatible with Russia’s GLONASS and GPS. The latest communications systems – also Russian-made – ensure the helicopter crew enjoy quality connections over a wide range of frequencies. 

For the crew’s in-flight comfort and safety, the helicopter boasts the latest Russian weather radar systems offering a 3D image of weather formations and objects. Information from the weather radar and navigation equipment is displayed on a large digital multifunction display, for improved flight safety and added convenience.

For improved combat resilience, the helicopter is equipped with the latest Russian-made ceramo-metallic armour, boasting greater resilience and weighing less than steel armour. 

The latest Russian-made navigation suites and radio communications systems, defence and weapons systems, and a wide range of additional equipment features ensure that the new Mi-8MTSh-V military transport helicopter meets all the necessary requirements.