China and Russia have signed a contract to jointly develop a heavy-lift helicopter in 13 years, TASS reported, citing the head of Russian Helicopters, Andrei Boginsky.
The contract was signed on June 25 after negotiations of more than a decade, Boginsky revealed, adding that Russia will develop the aircraft’s “transmission, tail rotor and anti-icing system.”
Led by Avicopter, the Chinese will design, test, and develop the aircraft prototype, certify, serial produce, and market it. The helicopter is likely to be used by the Chinese military.
“Work will be carried out, therefore, of course, for us, and especially for young people, this is a serious project on which we can work for a long time and, among other things, acquire additional skills and competencies,” Boginsky said.
The helicopter, called the AC332 AHL, will have a maximum take-off weight of 38.2 tons and a service ceiling of 5,700 meters (1,8701 feet). It will reportedly be able to fly up to 630 kilometers (391 miles) without refueling at a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour) and carry up to 10 tons of cargo (15 tons when placed on an external sling).
The aircraft’s reported weight is estimated at 84,200 pounds (38,192 kilograms), with a carrying capacity of 60 passengers.
Boginsky said that ten service centers are being set up and modernized “abroad” for the aircraft. “That is, the more equipment there is, the more it is necessary to provide services,” he added.
The development comes on the heels of a report that China is considering the purchase of three dozen Russian Kamov Ka-52K naval helicopters to operate from the Type 075 amphibious assault vessel. South China Morning Post, citing the report, underlined that China cannot currently develop a heavy armed helicopter.