When it comes to rescue helicopters, practically all modern city, county and state rescue services of the Western nations these days choose mostly smaller and stylish machines into action. Not in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and many other former republics of the vast ex-Soviet empire. Known for being able to withstand rough conditions the City Rescue Service, the Akimat Almaty, just received its newest star on the block: the Mil Mi-8AMT.
“The city of Almaty boasts a population of 1.5 million, and is the rapidly growing southern main city of the Republic of Kazakhstan. We pay significant attention to issues related to equipping the Rescue Service with the latest technology, specialist technology and equipment,” said Almaty’s Akim (head of a local government) Akhmetzhan Esimov. “We hope that the Mi-8AMT will successfully carry out operations to prevent emergencies, emergency response operations, and to offer first aid to residents of and visitors to the capital. There are plans to further expand the Rescue Service’s helicopter fleet which will be used during events such as the Worldwide Youth Universiade in 2017, and in construction work on the Kok Zhaylau world-class ski resort.”
With Western rescue services often using bright yellow or orange colours on their flying Nightingales, the Mi-8AMT that serves Almaty almost looks like a military machine: with an overall slightly greyish white paint scheme and the registration number 711 painted large on the tail boom. The particular chopper was built at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, which is part of Russian Helicopters, under a contract concluded in 2013.
1,065 km Range
The Hip – as the NATO-reporting name for the type goes – was fitted with additional equipment enabling it to carry out search and rescue operations and transport cargo and passengers. Its search and rescue function is supported by the LPG-150M winch and external sling, which has a hydraulic weighing system. Additional external fuel tanks can be fitted, increasing the helicopter’s range to 1,065 km. The improved cabin can comfortably seat up to 12 people. The helicopter is distinguished by its low vibration and noise. It is fitted with the latest navigation and radio communications equipment, ensuring it can operate safely in a wide range of different conditions.
Repair Plant No. 405
Aftersale maintenance support for Russian helicopters in Kazakhstan is carried out by Aircraft Repair Plant No. 405 in Almaty, which is certified for the whole Central Asian region. Russian Helicopters has plans to open maintenance and service support centres in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, and in the cities of Aktau, Atyrau, Shymkent, and Oskemen.
In recent years, Russia-Kazakhstan partnership on helicopter projects has been developing. In May 2012, Russian Helicopters delivered two new multirole Ka-32A11BC helicopters to the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Emergency Situations Ministry. In February 2013, Rosoboronexport handled the delivery of 4 Mi-171Sh helicopters to the Kazakhstan National Security Committee’s border guard service. In August, the holding delivered a Mi-171E helicopter to the Interior Ministry.
Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant, a Russian Helicopters company, carried out the comprehensive repair and modernisation of two Mi-26T helicopters for Kazaviazapas. This year, the Kazakhstan National Security Committee’s border guard service took delivery of two Mi-171Sh helicopters under a contract with Rosoboronexport. In 2015, Mi-171E helicopters are scheduled to be delivered to Kazakhstan’s Emergency Situations Ministry and to the National Guard.
Source: Russian Helicopters with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger