The sanctions imposed on the Kremlin by the international community hasn’t yet slowed down Russia’s military helicopter exports, it would appear.
Russia stated its ambition in 2007 to secure 10% of the world’s helicopter market. This has long since been met, and Russian Helicopters now enjoys at least a share of 15% thanks to heavy-class military rotorcraft sales.
As we discover in the latest issue of Defence Helicopter, the umbrella company of the country’s rotorcraft industry has enjoyed considerable growth in export sales of the evergreen Mi-8/17/171 family while the Mi-35M has already attracted five export customers – Azerbaijan, Brazil, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela – and could soon pick up several more.
Indeed, in 2013 Rosoboronexport delivered 140 helicopters for export and expected a similar figure to be reached in 2014.
In the magazine we detail the large number of orders placed by countries such as China, Iraq and Peru.
Meanwhile, Beijing and Moscow have settled on the conceptual design of a new joint heavy helicopter and are now working to determine the nature of the industrial agreement.
It’s not all champagne and roses, however.
Although it may still be too early to assess the full impact of international sanctions, Russian Helicopters has already been forced to sever ties with Ukraine in the manufacture of Mi-8AMTSh-V helicopters currently being built for the Russian Armed Forces.
It is also hard to envisage significant export orders of the remaining helicopters in the stable such as the Ansat-U, Mi-38, Ka-52 and Ka-226. All have seen some domestic orders but their export prospects remain less obvious.
Russian aggression has also awoken several Eastern European nations to the fact their helicopter fleets are desperately in need of replacement – especially since the mostly Soviet-designed machines won’t be kept in the air for long without a reliable supply of spare parts – meaning the crisis could yet prove a boon for western military helicopter OEMs.