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Mi-171A2 to be certified next year

_Two newest Mil Mi-171A2 heavily upgraded medium multirole helicopters participated in the recent MAKS 2015 airshow in late August. One of them, Mi-171A2 OP-1 first flying prototype, was shown in flight display programme while the second one (OP-2) could be seen at Russian Helicopters holding company static display. Mi-171A2 programme is now under advanced stage of flight tests.

The first stage of the trials kicked off in autumn 2012 with the Mi-171LL flying testbed fitted with modified rotor system participated in it. It was equipped with advanced composite main rotor blades, an X-shaped tail rotor, an upgraded main rotor hub and a reinforced powertrain.

At the second stage, Mi-171LL was fitted with advanced Klimov VK-2500PS-03 turboshaft engines with the BARK-6V-7S digital control system, as well as modified stabiliser and tail boom.

The testing of the flying testbed proved the compliance of its flight performance to the Mi-171A2 requirements specification. In particular, the tests proved a maximum speed increase from 250 km/h to 280 km/h, a 20% cruising speed increase, an increase in the main rotor thrust and a drop in vibration.

The first hover of the Mi-171A2 first flying prototype (OP-1) manufactured by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant on the basis of an airframe supplied by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters) took place in Tomilino on 25 August 2014 and its first horizontal flight on 14 November 2014.

The second Mi-171A2 prototype (OP-2) has been manufactured this summer.

Unlike the flying testbed, both Mi-171A2 prototypes, the OP-1 and OP-2, are furnished with the KBO-17 integrated digital flight navigation avionics suite from the Ulyanovsk Instrument Manufacturing Design Bureau (UIMDB), a member of the Radio-electronic Technologies Concern (KRET). The KBO-17 suite features a 'glass cockpit' comprising five multifunction liquid-crystal displays showing mapping, navigational and weather information. The introduction of the KBO-17 allowed the reduction of the Mi-171A2 crew to two and enabled the aircraft to operate round the clock under any weather conditions, thus accomplishing missions in a radically more efficient manner. The Mi-171A2's avionics suite meets all latest requirements to comms, controls and navaids. The integral systems performance monitoring capability ensures on-condition operation of the helicopter.

The Mi-171A2's certification and full-rate production entry are slated for 2016.

Published in Take-off magazine, November 2015.

(Photo: Alexey Mikheyev)

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