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Russia and China plan to produce at least 200 heavy helicopters under joint project

The joint development will contribute both to further cooperation in hi-tech sectors of industry and "the strengthening of friendly ties between Russia and China

SHANGHAI, August 31. /TASS/. A contract on the Russian-Chinese project to develop an Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL) may be signed by late 2017 while the total output may reach at least 200 helicopters, International Cooperation and Regional Policy Director at Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec Viktor Kladov said on Thursday.

"At least 200 heavy helicopters are planned to be produced in China. This is an estimated market volume. This is the minimum amount. Possibly, these helicopters will be exported," he said.

According to Kladov, the negotiations on the contract are nearing completion. "We hope that the contract will be signed by the end of the current year," he said, adding that Rostec was seeking to comply with this timeframe.

"A large volume of negotiating work has to be carried out. If everything goes well, we may sign the contract until the end of the year. Perhaps, we’ll do this in the first quarter of next year," he noted.

Responding to a question about the production of this helicopter, Kladov said that there was no talk about establishing a joint venture with China as compared to the project between Russian and India on the production of the Kamov Ka-226T helicopter.

"The point is that we have a different formula of cooperation with the Chinese company," he said, stressing that the talk was about "technological partnership, under which China was responsible for the helicopter’s design and production while the Russian side acted as a technological partner.

Some assemblies and components that are not produced in China will be supplied from Russia but the helicopter itself will be produced in China, Kladov said.

"Our designers and engineers will actively participate in development work, trials and certification of the helicopter but this will be done on the basis of contracts," he said.

Project of developing heavy helicopter

A bilateral agreement on the program of developing a heavy civil helicopter was signed in June 2016 during an official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China. In February 2017, it was approved by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"The agreement stipulates that Russian Helicopters Group (part of Rostec) will make investments in the project in the form of technologies and will also develop a technical proposal and separate systems of the new machine on a contractual basis. The Chinese side will deal with the organization and implementation of the program as a whole, including designing, the development of prototypes, tests, certification and production, and also the promotion of the helicopter on the market and the general coordination of works.

As Russian Helicopters Group said earlier, the joint development will contribute both to further cooperation in hi-tech sectors of industry and "the strengthening of friendly ties between Russia and China as a whole."

According to the data presented earlier, the helicopter will have a maximum takeoff weight of 38.2 tonnes and a service ceiling of 5,700 meters. The helicopter will have a flight range of 630 km and develop a maximum speed of 300 km/hr. The AHL will be able to carry cargoes of 10 tonnes inside and up to 15 tonnes, if externally suspended.