State-owned Russian Helicopters (RH) has commenced serial production of the company’s “polar helicopter”, retrofitted for civilian customers looking to operate in the Arctic.
Held to be a world-first, the Mi-8AMT rotorcraft includes a unique transmission heating system, which will allow for quick starts in adverse conditions. The vehicle also includes a thermally-insulated cabin and anti-freeze measures, including teflon (rather than rubber) hose.
It will also come equipped with two additional fuel tankers, allowing it to cover distances of up to 1,400 kilometres.
The model entered serial production at the company’s Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, near the Mongolian border.
“New Mi-8AMT helicopter will be sought after by many Russian companies and government agencies implementing projects and tasks in the Arctic. The first rotorcraft is ready to start operation, and negotiations with several potential Russian customers are underway,” stated director general of Russian Helicopters Andrey Boginsky.
“This helicopter is necessary for air medical services, maintenance of facilities of the fuel and energy complex, and for meeting the needs of polar expeditions,” added the plant’s managing director, Leonid Belykh. “It may also help organise transportation in northern regions.”
Rostec (RH’s parent company) insists that a great deal of attention was paid to navigation features throughout the design process, given that the craft is expected to operate in harsh weather, night, and when lines of communications are down.
To that end, it includes a radar with horizontal and vertical sweep of information on the weather, a digital autopilot, and radio stations with a broad range of frequencies.