An Mi-17 helicopter is used by the Peruvian Army to fight terrorism and drug trafficking. Peru is South America's oldest operator of the Russian-made Mi-series helos. (Agence France-Presse)
SANTIAGO — Russian Helicopters and Oboronprom came to the FIDAE air show to promote the Mi-171A2, an upgraded version of the family of Mi-8/Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters. The upgrade boasts a more powerful engine, can operate in most environmental conditions, has a new rotor and control systems, and offers an improved glass-cockpit compatible with night vision goggles.
The Mi-series family of helicopters have sold well in South America and Peru, their oldest operator, recently ordered a batch of 20 Mi-171Sh versions to replace older Mi-8 and Mi-17 worn out from intense use against the Shining Path guerrillas.
The Mi-35 gunship has also found a market in South America and is in service with Venezuela, Peru and Brazil, and according to sources from the latter two countries, their militaries are negotiating for additional gunships. Russian Helicopters declined to comment.
Another Russian-built helicopter promoted in FIDAE was the coaxial Ka-32A11BC, which has already proved popular with civilian operators in Latin America where its heavy-lifting capabilities are used in forestry exploration, fire fighting and offshore oil extraction platforms.
The Ka-32A11BC is being eyed by the Argentine Navy for shipborne use in support of Antarctic operations from its icebreaker and other polar vessels. The Russian maker did not comment.
Russian Helicopters also gave information about the development status of its Ka-62 helicopter, which is being fitted with Ardiden 3G fuel efficient engines from French maker Turbomeca.
“Latin America is a very important market for both Rostec and Russian Helicopters, as around 400 of our aircraft are currently in service with countries around this region,” said Sergei Goreslavsky, Rostec chief of international cooperation.
Most of the Russian-built rotating wing aircraft are with military operators in South America, including Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina.
“Many of those countries have plans to acquire additional numbers of our helicopters, while others, that we cannot mention at this moment, are considering procuring our aircraft for the first time,” Goreslavsky added.
“So we are very optimistic and, at the same time, looking forward to meeting and fulfilling their requirements in the best way,” he concluded.