The Ulan-Ude Aviation Plunt in Russia has produced the 750th Mil Mi-8MT since production began in 1991. But the Mi-8 of today is not the same as it was in the past.
Today the Mi-8AMT (and export version Mi-171) are fitted with various additional equipment to expand potential uses, including a spotlight with IR filter, a FLIR system and various winches, while additional fuel tanks can be added to increase the helicopter’s range. Flight safety is provided by advanced in-cockpit piloting and navigational equipment and a system for emergency landings on water, while air-conditioning is installed for the comfort of passengers and crew.
Meanwhile the state-owned design and marketing company Russian Helicopters is developing a new model in the Mi-8/17 series: the multirole Mi-171A2. The Company plans to demonstrate the first prototype with new on-board radio-electronic equipment and VK-2500 engines at the MAKS 2013, which takes place in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow from 27 August to 1 September.
A number of key parts have already been tested in a “flying laboratory”: a new rotor with blades made of composite materials, an X-shaped tail rotor, a modified hub and swash plate. In total more than 100 modifications are planned.
Certification of the new machine is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, with deliveries to customers starting in 2015.
The Mi-171 can carry up to 26 people in passenger seats, carry cargo of up to 4,000 kg in the cabin and on an external sling, and can lift, load or unload cargo while in flight. Of this export version of the Mi-8 more than 700 are in service in countries across Central and South-East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Russia and the CIS.
Source: Вертолеты России (Russian Helicopters)