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Mi-171A2 in trials

Mi-171A22014 became a milestone for the programme of the upgraded Mi-171A2 multirole medium transport/passenger helicopter intended to replace such bestsellers as the Mi-171 and Mi-17 on the commercial market in due time. The first Mi-171A2 prototype (OP-1), made by the Mil Helicopter Plant, a subsidiary of the Russian Helicopter holding company, on the basis of the airframe supplied by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, passed numerous ground tests pertaining to the assessment of the advanced KBO-17 avionics suite from the Concern Radio-electronic technologies. The OP-1's first hover at the National Helicopter Industry Centre in Tomilino, Moscow Region, took place on 25 August 2014. The first level flight, controlled by a crew led by test pilot Salavat Sadriyev, occurred on 14 November 2014.

The primary objective of the OP-1's flight tests is to assess the operation of the KBO-17 avionics suite. The key feature of the KBO-17 is the implementation of the 'glass cockpit' concept with five multifunction liquid-crystal displays. The GPS/GLONASS satellite navigation system is capable of alerting the crew to an incoming obstacle ahead of the helicopter. The Mi-171A2 can be furnished with the KOS-17 round-the-clock surveillance system with all-weather digital TV and thermal-imaging cameras allowing safe flight at night.

The earlier tests of the VK-2500PS-03 engine and advanced rotor system with the all-composite blades, modified main rotor hub and reinforced powertrain on the Mi-171LL (side number 987) flying testbed, which had been under way in Tomilino since autumn 2012, proved the declared maximal flight speed increase from 250 km/h to 280 km/h, the 20% cruising speed increase, a hike in the main rotor's thrust and a drop in vibration.

The whole range of design modifications stipulated for the Mi-171A2 is being implemented in the second prototype, the OP-2. Particularly, it will be used for testing the advanced composite-blade main rotor, X-tail rotor, enlarged vertical and horizontal tails and an extra set of optional gear. Two more Mi-171A2 airframes are being subject to static and endurance tests.

The Mi-171A2 certification and production entry are slated for late 2015 or early 2016.

(Photo: Russian Helicopters)

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