Military


Mi-171 [Mi-17-lV / Mi-8MTV / Mi-8AMT]

Mi-171 is an export version of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter, which is currently in production at two factories in Kazan and Ulan-Ude, fitted with more powerful turboshaft engines.

Another important stage in the modernization of the 'good old' Mi-8 was associated with the introduction of the high-altitude TV3-117VM engine, the first examples of which were tested in 1985. In the course of two years the Mil EDB developed a new baseline model, the Mi-8MTV (export designation Mi-17-lV). The high-altitude engines enabled the helicopter to make take-offs and landings at altitudes of up to 4,000 m and perform horizontal flight at altitudes of up to 6,000 m. The greater service ceiling was accompanied by an improvement of other characteristics, such as rate of climb, range, etc. The new baseline model was fitted with modern equipment which included a weather radar and a long-range radio navigation (LORAN) system. The military version was provided with armour and self-sealing fuel tanks with explosion-suppression polyurethane foam filler. The armament fit included nose- and aft-mounted 7.62-mm Kalashnikov PKT machine-guns, six external stores pylons on outriggers, and flexible mounts for the troopers' assault rifles.

Taking into account the combat experience gained in Afghanistan, the resistance of the helicopter's parts and assemblies to combat damage was enhanced. To increase the safety of overwater operations civil Mi-8MTVs could be fitted with flotation gear for ditching; the gear was developed jointly with French compa­nies. Preparations for series production of the Mi-8MTV (Mi-8MTV-1) in Kazan began in 1988. The baseline model can be operated in transport, troop-carrier, troopship/attack and ambulance versions, as well as in a ferrying configuration and in a passenger version. The Ulan-Ude plant has already built several hundreds of these machines.

In 1991 the Mi-8MTV entered series production at the Ulan-Ude plant where it received some minor alterations in equipment and was redesignated Mi-8AMT (export designation Mi-171). The baseline model could be operated in transport, troop-carrier, ambulance versions, as well as in ferrying and passenger configurations. The Ulan-Ude Plant had already built hundreds of aircraft of the type. By 1997 Mi-171 type helicopter received a type certificate. In 1999 the Mi-171 received a type certificate in China in accordance with the US FAR-29 standards in passenger and cargo versions for flights over land and sea.

The modifications tried by the Kazan Helicopter Plant have been also implemented on the Mi-8AMT (Mi-171) manufactured by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, JSC. They differ in their parameters and design, e.g. a bigger-size postern door is not installed on the port side, but on the starboard.

In 2007, Russian companies built 120 Mi-171 helicopters, although they had orders for 150 aircraft, due to a shortage of transmissions and rotors, and according to estimates, there are no plans in the future to increase production for these components.

In May 2008 a manufacturing plant in southwest China has started to assemble Russian-designed Mi-171 transport helicopters, one of Russia's key arms exports. China planned to build at least 20 helicopters in 2008 with assembly kits supplied by a Russian plant in Ulan-Ude and later increase production capacity to 80 aircraft per year. "We consider this project as the beginning of a trend to assembly Russian helicopters in China," according to Oboronprom, which controls Russian Helicopters, a helicopter manufacturing group. The Lantian Helicopter Company, based in Sichuan province, had already received orders worth $42.8 million. The Chinese are planning to export Mi-171 helicopters to Pakistan and Africa, which may hurt Russian exports. In addition, the successful implementation of the project could leave Russian manufacturers short of component parts.

In 2009 Russia started deliveries of Mi-171 helicopters to Iran, under a $45 million contract.

In February 2009 an official from Russia's state arms exporter said Russia will deliver the first of 80 Mi-171 transport helicopters to India under a recent contract in 2010. The Mi-171 is an export version of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter. Currently in production at two factories in the Russian Volga area city of Kazan and the East Siberian city of Ulan-Ude, it features more powerful turboshaft engines and can transport up to 37 passengers. "We hope that the first helicopter will be delivered to India at the start of 2010," a deputy director of Rosoboronexport, Viktor Komardin, said. He previously said the first helicopter would be delivered to India before the end of the year. Some sources estimate the new deal is worth around $662 million. India already had 150 Russian-made Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters deployed in at least 12 squadrons.




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