Russians To Build Light Single Helo Prototype in 2019

New Delhi, April 26, 2018: Russian Helicopters plans to build its first VRT500 coaxial single-engine prototype by late next year and will eventually build 700 annually by 2030, the company said. The two-ton, five-seat helicopter, designed by the VR-Technologies design bureau, is aimed at the passenger, utility, cargo, training, VIP, and medevac markets. According to VR-Technologies director Alexander Okhonko, the company aims to capture 15 percent of the two-ton market and generate strong export demand for the helicopter, targeting Latin America and the Caribbean for 30 percent of sales.

Preliminary specifications call for the VRT500 to have an mtow of 3,527 pounds, payload of 1,600 pounds, 124-knot cruise speed, 20,000-foot service ceiling, and 410-nm maximum range. The coaxial design features two three-blade main rotors with shaped carbon-fiber blades to cut noise emissions, extensive composite construction, glass-panel avionics, and sliding rear cabin doors. Plans call for its turboshaft engine to be Western-sourced, possibly from Safran according to ainonline.com.

The VRT500 is intended to compete with the Bell 505 and Robinson R66. Russian Helicopters plans to market it in the U.S. and Europe and pursue EASA and FAA certification, with serial production projected for 2020 or 2021. The Russian manufacturer indicated it will develop the VRT500 with unidentified European partners. It unveiled a mockup of the VRT500 in July.

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