Ukraine plans helicopter manufacturing capability
MOSCOW, May 4 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine is planning to begin manufacture of its own helicopters within a decade, the country's Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrey Kluyev said on Wednesday.
"We make engines for practically all types of helicopters. We have plants which could make structural parts, and most of the components for new Ukrainian helicopters. So we should start their production in the medium term," Kluyev said.
The Ukrainian government has instructed the relevant state agencies to work out a plan for an optimal helicopter production business with state-private partnership, including Motor Sich, the domestic gas turbine maker.
Ukraine's helicopter fleet is in urgent need of replacement, with 85% of the fleet over 10 years old, and more than half over 20 years old Kluyev said.
Motor Sich is currently involved in modernizing the Russian built Mil Mi-8, to give it a seven to ten year life extension. Kluyev has called for a domestic manufacturing capability to be established within that timeframe.