Russian Helicopters, part of State Corporation Rostec, announced on 24th June that it will cooperate with China’s Avicopter to develop the Advanced Heavy Lift (AHL) commercial helicopter. The company reported that a corresponding intergovernmental agreement was signed by the Russian and Chinese parties in Beijing in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“China is our oldest strategic military and technical partner, and we are happy that our cooperation has extended to the civil sector,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. The Russian company produces the huge Mi-26, which can carry payloads up to 20t.
The two countries have been discussing the AHL project for some time now. Russia’s Sputnik new agency reported that they had reached agreement on the concept last July. At that time, the AHL was described as a 15t machine specially designed for operation in hot and high conditions.
According to the Russian company, the Russian and Chinese parties will jointly develop the advanced heavy helicopter for its subsequent serial production in China, in response to Chinese market demand. Russian Helicopters says it will contribute technologies to the project and will also provide technical data as well as developing individual AHL systems on a contractual basis.
The Chinese side will be responsible for the organization and implementation of the AHL programme in general, including engineering design, prototype assembly, testing, certification, preparation and serial production, as well as market promotion and general coordination of activities.
Last year, the two countries announced a project to build Kamov Ka-32 helicopters in China.