One new helicopter under development was Mi-46 with the carrying capacity of 10-12 tons proposed in both transport and crane configurations. Work on this helicopter began in 1982. Designed in the 1990s, although not then commercially pursued, it was foreseen as a replacement for the Mil Mi-6 and Mi-10. It was improved with the results of the design of the Mi-38. The Mi-46 is a development of the Mi-26, intended to replace the Mi-6 and Mi-10K, the new Mi-46 would have a carrying capacity of 10-12 tons, which is only half that of the Mi-26.
This development is hindered by the lack of an engine, as until now there is no suitable engine for this helicopter. The Mi-46 future heavy lift helicopter requires a turboshaft engine, and one with enough power is not available either in Russia or abroad. It had been planned to install the D-215V turboprop rated at 7,600 horsepower. Maximum speed is supposed to be 300 kilometers per hour, cruise is 270 kilometers per hour, practical flight range is 400 kilometers and ferry range is 1,300 kilometers.
In 1980, after the removal of the Mi-6 from production, these machines had been gradually decreasing in service. They were replaced in squadrons and detachments of the Air Force more powerful new Mi-26. However, when using the Mi-26 in the national economy revealed that the use of this heavy truck in operations was less profitable than its predecessor, as loads, calculated mainly on the MI-6, had a weight of 9-10 tons. Thus, in the fleet of helicopters civil aviation formed a gap, which could fill the new helicopter carrying capacity of 10-12 tons.
In 1990, in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of civil aviation MVZ Mil started to design a transport helicopter Mi-46. As a suitable engine capacity 7500-8000 hp was not available, the project leaders addressed a number of OKB with a proposal to take part in the program of the Mi-46. The best project - the engine D-215 capacity 7600 hp based generator aircraft engine PS-90A from OAO Perm NGO was presented.
Since the development of the combined demanded a helicopter in the specifications of the Ministry of Civil Aviation - vehicle with suspended cab and crane on cost centers looked at various projects. The transport option was to have a high efficiency, and the crane option - to meet the strict conditions - with an engine failure on the circuit operation gently lower the load on the ground. Studies have shown that you can create a combined helicopter, but impractical because of low load ratio, and meet the requirements of technical specifications can be two different vehicle - transport helicopter with two engines and the helicopter-crane with the same three engines.
- Mi-46T - Twin-turboshaft passenger/freight transport helicopter. Replacement for Mi-6, with T-O weight just over half that of Mi-26. General configuration similar to Mi-26; seven-blade main rotor, five-blade tail rotor; non-retractable tricycle landing gear with twin wheels on each unit; few windows in hold; rear-loading ramp and doors; engines above hold, forward of main rotor driveshaft. Two new-type Aviadvigatel turboshafts, each 5,590 kW (7,495 shp). Equipped normally to carry freight.
- Mi-46K - Twin-turboshaft flying crane helicopter. Replacement for Mi-10K, of typical large flying crane configuration, utilising fuselage nose, flight deck, power plant and dynamic components of Mi-46T; flat-bottomed, shallow centre and rear fuselage, with short stub-wings and long tripod-braced mainwheel units; glazed gondola for second pilot, facing rearward behind front fuselage pod, to control helicopter during loading and unloading. Sling cable directly under main rotor driveshaft for payload. Two unspecified 5,965kW turboshafts.
The Mi-46 had a classic single-rotor design with semilopastnym rotor diameter of 27.6 m and a five-blade tail rotor diameter of 6.2 m. In its design engineers a cost center as much as possible take into account the experience of creation and operation of Mi-26 , similar to that developed a general view, the layout and design of the main aggregates and future vehicle systems. At the same time the designers made ??in the project a number of improvements in accordance with the latest achievements of science and technology of the helicopter: set a new flight control and navigation system, used fiberglass blades, hub screws that do not require lubrication, etc.
All these developments would allow (in comparison with their predecessors Mi-6 and Mi-10K ) to significantly improve flight performance, increase the resources, improve the safety in case of failure of one engine, reducing twice the specific fuel consumption, simplify maintenance and improve mechanization of loading and unloading. The estimated mass of the Mi-46 - 30 m static ceiling - 2300 m, cruising speed - 270 km / h range with full fuel - 750 km.
The Mi-46T, a twin-turboshaft passenger/freight transport helicopter, was announced as the replacement for the Mi-6, with a T-O weight just over half that of Mi-26. General configuration similar to Mi-26; seven-blade main rotor, five-blade tail rotor; non-retractable tricycle landing gear with twin wheels on each unit; few windows in hold; rear-loading ramp and doors. Two new-type Aviadvigatel turboshafts, each 5,590 kW (7,495 shp) are above the hold, forward of main rotor driveshaft.
The Mi-46K twin-turboshaft flying crane helicopter was revealed in the summer 1992, with no subsequent announcements. Replacement for Mi-10K, of typical large flying crane configuration, utilising fuselage nose, flight deck, two unspecified 5,965kW turboshafts power plant and dynamic components of Mi-46T; flat-bottomed, shallow center and rear fuselage, with short stub-wings and long tripod-braced mainwheel units; glazed gondola for second pilot, facing rearward behind front fuselage pod, to control helicopter during loading and unloading. Sling cable directly under main rotor driveshaft for payload.
As of 2005 Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant JSC was designing helicopters as follows: light helicopter on the basis of Mi-34 rotorcraft, Mi-52 three-seat light piston helicopter, Mi-54 intermediate multi-purpose utility helicopter, Mi-58 medium class civil helicopter, Mi-40 eight-troop armoured and armed assault helicopter, heavy lift Mi-46 transport helicopter, Mi-60MAI two-seat light training helicopter and some other models; completing the tests of Mi-28NE and Mi-38; modernizing Mi-2, Mi-8/17, Mi-24/35 and Mi-26 helicopters; within the framework of a cooperation taking part in production of VIP-version helicopters, setting up certified MRO centers, establishing training centers, as well as in creating and manufacturing technical training aids.
The Mil plant had to shelve its plans to start series production of another new model, the Mi-46 heavy transport helicopter, to replace the outdated Mi-6, on account of insufficient financing from the state budget.
On August 25, 2007 a Press Conference was held in the hangar of the sports complex "Lisya Nora" dedicated to the 60th anniversary of MMHP JSC. For the first time the advanced Mi-46 and Mi-58 helicopters as well as further modernization programs for the Mi-8 and Mi-28N were shown to a large public. In the more distant future, deliveries of light Ka-60 helicopters and Mi-38 transport helicopters are envisaged, as well as advanced heavy transport helicopters like the Mi-46 and new versions of the Mi-26, though the status of these programs is not clear.
Of modern design, just over half weight of Mi-26, the Mi-46 features a 7-blade rotor, 5-blade tail rotor. Mi-46T with layout similar to Mi-26 with unobstructed hold with rear ramp door, twin engines and oil cooler ahead of main gear-box, fixed twin-wheel tricycle landing gear. Mi-46K flying crane similar to Mi-10K with stub wings, long braced landing gear, aft-facing pilot position used when picking up or setting down.
Data was released at Aviation Expo China 2007 and Chinese co-participants invited for the program to include first deliveries in 2020. The Moscow Mil' Helicopter Plant is proposing foreign companies, including Chinese, cooperation for the creation and production of the Mi-46 intermediate class heavy transport helicopter, a representative of the Russia company, Viktor Egorov, reported at the Aviation Expo China 2007 international aviation exhibition which is taking place in Beijing. According to him, it is planned to use the experience of the development and tests of the Mi-38 and Mi-26 in the construction of the new aircraft. The new helicopter ws intended for the transport of cargos over 10 - 12 tonnes.
The Moscow plant was cooperating closely with China, where more than 100 vehicles had been delivered over the years 2004-2007. There was a demonstration in Harbin (the administrative center of the Heilongjiang province) of the largest series produced helicopters in the world, the Mi-26T. In 2006 year, a contract was signed for the leasing transfer to the PRC of this helicopter for 3 years.
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