Russian Helicopters has started production of the first pre-production prototype of the Mi-171A3 offshore helicopter. Flight tests of the rotorcraft are to start in the summer of 2021. The first Mi-171A3 offshore helicopter is being built by several plants forming part of Russian Helicopters that specialise in serial production, and JSC National Helicopter Center (NHC). They are working in close cooperation.
The main task of the Mi-171A3 is servicing the offshore drilling rigs of companies active in the fuel and energy sector. It is capable of transporting people and freight, and carrying out search and rescue operations if necessary; for that purpose, additional installation of a special complex comprising search capabilities, onboard hoists and medical equipment is provided for. Operators will be able to convert it into a search-and-rescue version from their own base.
“Unique solutions ensuring the safety of flights over water have been developed for the first offshore helicopter in Russia,” reveals Rostec aviation cluster industrial director Anatoliy Serdyukov. “The helicopter's onboard equipment enables navigation at high latitudes and communication with sea-going vessels. The helicopter has an emergency flotation system and life rafts, and a special crash-resistant fuselage section has been developed for it. Separate parts of the helicopter are already being assembled. The first rotorcraft for flights is to be assembled in early 2021 at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. In 2021 we also plan to show the rotorcraft at the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon for the first time as one of Rostec's most recent key developments.”
After being completely assembled, the helicopter will be transferred to NHC where the National Helicopter Center will add avionics to it. After that, a cycle of ground and flight tests will take place. Other enterprises in the holding company will also take an active part in helicopter production. Kazan Helicopters will make the helicopter's cargo floor, which has been made similar to that of Mi-38, while Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company is making composite material parts for the nose and board panels for the middle part of the fuselage section.
“The Mi-171A3 is very much sought-after for offshore operations. The rotorcraft has been created as a result of cooperation among Rostec's companies. Expanding hydrocarbon production on the Arctic shelf requires a fleet of reliable and modern helicopters that can be operated in the most difficult weather and climatic conditions,” emphasises director general of Russian Helicopters, Andrey Boginsky. "Starting from 2022, we will be ready to hand over the first serial helicopters to the launch customer.”