French power for Mi-34s
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In August France’s Turbomeca signed a MoU with Russian Helicopters company to supply new engines for the Mil Mi-34S2 Sapsan light helicopter. Dmitry Rodin, director of the Mi-34 production resumption project at the Arsenyev-based Progress plant, says the S2 variant with its Turbomeca Arrius 2F turboshaft engine will be priced at slightly more than $1 million. This makes it one of the most affordable rotorcraft in the three-tonne MTOW class. The Mi-34S2 is seen as a rival to the Eurocopter EC120 and the recently unveiled Robinson R66.
The Mi-34S2 is expected to receive CIS-wide certification in 2011, followed by a production launch in the same year. Rodin says talks with potential customers are under way. Russian Helicopters will bid for a Rosaviatsia Federal Air Transport Agency contract to supply 20 training helicopters to the Omsk aviation technical school.
It is planned to build a total of 150 helicopters within five years of the production launch. Most will be sold in Russia, although Russian Helicopters is equally interested in foreign customers. Rodin gives a very cautious sales outlook for the USA and Europe, where he says there are protectionist import duties on rotorcraft of this category. He names Asia, South America and Africa as much more promising markets.
Developed in the 1980s as a training and aerobatic helicopter, the Mi-34 was originally powered by the M-14V26V piston engine. Series production was suspended in the early 2000s. Rodin believes the project to resume Mi-34 production will cost tens of millions of dollars.
Apart from the Mi-34S2, Progress will also build the piston-powered Mi-34S1 fitted with one M-9VF engine. The Mi-34S1 will be priced at about $600,000, but will be more expensive to operate due to the higher price of the fuel it requires. In the future Mi-34S2s may be re-engined with Ukrainian Progress Ai-450 turbine designs, which could further reduce their price.

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