|The Konvers Avia Research and Production
Association has devised and is actively pursuing a program The Conversion, Repair,
Operation and Disposal of Military Helicopters and other Aviation Equipment Withdrawn from
Service with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
This program fully corresponds to the conceptual goals
and tasks of the Federal Defense Industry Conversion Program for 1995-1997 and is
conducted without any external or extrabudgetary funding.
There are three major factors that encouraged us to
launch this program. Firstly, the Russian aircraft industrys technologies in a
number of cases surpass those adopted internationally. These technologies can be
effectively used not only in the military sphere, but also in civilian sectors,
specifically as dual-use technologies under conversion programs. Secondly, one of the most
commercially feasible and technologically attractive spheres (from a multitude of dual-use
technologies) is the conversion of military winged aircraft and helicopters withdrawn from
service, specifically the Mil Mi-14 amphibious helicopter. With the national aircraft
industry in recession, this particular conversion project will help retain a large fleet
of highly reliable machines for at least 10 - 15 years. Thirdly and finally, a complete
helicopter conversion project the removal of military equipment, interior layout
retrofit with simultaneous overhaul and restoration of power plant and other vital
components is not too costly nor labor-consuming, provided it is carried out by
dedicated aircraft repair enterprises.
The association has already overhauled and retrofitted
several Mi-14 amphibious helicopters to make civil versions.
The two years of the program implementation, which
included thorough Mi-14 flight tests over the Caspian Sea shelf, have convinced us that
the Mi-14 would be able to effectively support the operations of Russia and other CIS
members oil and gas complex, extinguish fires and conduct search and rescue
operations over water areas. All these missions can be executed due to the
helicopters unique airframe and powerplant design, as well as by universal concept
of the conversion project.
In addition to its multirole capability, the Mi-14
features high flight performance: a 900 to 1,000 km range and four-hour endurance on
internal fuel only.
Attractive air transportation capabilities, large seating
capacity and simplicity in operation, etc., as well as an unrivaled low price-tag compared
with that of its Western counterparts gives the Mi-14 a trump card on the international
Currently, the only competitor to the Mi-14GP is the
Eurocopter AS 332L1 Super Puma.
Although the Mi-14GP slightly yields to the AS 332L1 in
the capabilities of onboard equipment, it significantly surpasses the French machine in
terms of floating stability and the reliability of the water-landing system.
As the Mi-14 was basically derived from the Mi-8
helicopter, all its major systems and powerplant units are interchangeable with those of
the Mi-8 and Mi-8MTV-1 helicopters extensively operated all over the world, providing
another important advantage.
The Mi-14GP was the first to be powered with two TV3-117
new-generation turboshafts and the VR-14 gearbox in place of standard TV2-117 engines and
the VR-8 gearbox.
It should be noted that the Mi-14s test flight
program exceeded by two times that of previously produced Mil helicopters and helped
develop further helicopter versions, such as Mi-8MT, Mi-8MTV, Mi-8AMT, Mi-17 and Mi-17-1V.
In the cargo/passenger configuration, the Mi-14GP is
transporting 24 to 26 passengers or a 3,000 kg
payload in the cargo cabin or externally over land or water to a range of 300 to 400 km;
landing on and taking off from water;
operating in virtually all climatic zones;
performing regular flights, day and night, in all
weather conditions, from prepared and unprepared (including soft soil) sites, and in
mountainous areas at an altitude of up to 3,500 m above sea level.
A crew comprising a pilot (crew captain), a copilot, and
a flight technician ensures complete helicopter flight preparation and operation in
autonomous basing conditions. For passenger services, the helicopter is equipped with
air-conditioning and heating systems, a toilet, and four escape hatches. A buffet can also
be fitted at customers request. The Mi-14GPs low vibration level, which does
not exceed 0.01 q (0.01 mm), is ensured by a vibration suppressor, comfortable chairs
borrowed from the Tupolev Tu-134 airliner and other features provide a higher passenger
comfort than that offered by the AS 332. In addition, the Mi-14GP has a more spacious
passenger cabin. Its cost is two to three times less than that of the AS 332.
The Mi-14GP can land on a sea platform with a maximum
takeoff weight of up to 13,000 kg at a wind speed of up to 20 m/s by day.
With one engine failed (at a normal takeoff weight and
standard atmosphere), the helicopter can maintain level flight for one hour (the time
limit of TV3-117M engine operating at takeoff rating). Undoubtedly, the cargo/passenger
version will be in high demand with oil and gas companies and various commuter airlines.
It can be used to carry personnel working on a shift
basis to and from sea oil platforms and to carry passengers to remote islands.
The Mi-14s many years of operation in various
regions of the world have proved its high operating capabilities.
The civilian search and rescue version of the military
Mi-14PS search and rescue helicopter, as well as the Mi-14P firefighting version, are of
specific interest. Compared with other helicopters, the Mi-14s search and rescue
version has many advantages: with a minimum retrofit, it can be effectively used to help
ships in distress and rescue people from water.
Unlike other helicopters, the Mi-14 can land on water,
drop liferafts overboard and take at least 20 survivors aboard. It can be employed for
search, transport and rescue (dropping 20 liferafts). When used for search and rescue
missions, it may include:
lifting up two to nine survivors in hovering,
accommodating them on seats;
lifting up nine survivors in hovering,
accommodating them on stretchers;
taking aboard 20 survivors, landing on land or
The main advantage of Mi-14P firefighting version
compared to its Russian or foreign counterparts is a capability to scoop up water from
relatively shallow water reservoirs and mountain rivers. This feature is ensured by a
podded scooping system and a special water scooper design that allows the helicopter to
scoop up water in hovering from water reservoirs only 0.3 m deep.
The helicopter firefighting retrofit and repairs take
from three to six months.
A total firefighting helicopter requirement in Western
Europe is estimated (by the overall volume of fires) at 750 to 820 machines.
Flight safety over water is the main criterion for a
helicopter to be used for shelf oil production operations. Therefore, to test its
performance and eliminate possible shortcomings, the Mi-14GP was operated successfully
from May 1996 to April 1997 over the Caspian Sea shelf (with due supervision provided by
the Mil Design Bureau). The helicopters flight tests carried out at the towns of
Kacha and Feodosia on the Black Sea coast confirmed its high floating stability.
The Mi-14GP version was displayed at the MAKS 95
and MAKS 97 Moscow International Aerospace Shows in Zhukovsky, the Gas-Oil 96
exhibition in Baku and the Gelendzhik 96 amphibian airshow. The demo flights and sea
landings realistically demonstrated the Mi-14GPGs unique capabilities.
Under the conversion program, the association has
accumulated vast experience and established fruitful cooperation with several
organizations and companies from Russia and the CIS, primarily with the developer of the
Mi-14 helicopter the Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant. Our business partners include the
Kazan-based Research and Production Enterprise «Helicopters Mi,» a number of aircraft
repair plants based in Russia (Pushkin, Leningrad Region), Ukraine (Sevastopol and
Lugansk) and Azerbaidjan (Baku and Gyandja).
These ties inspire confidence in our potential to expand
and accelerate the programs implementation. Currently, naval aviation still has
about 60 Mi-14 helicopters with their technical conditions aggravating from day to day.
Urgent measures should be taken and requisite funds should to be allocated to save the
most costly and needed helicopter fleet.
The most acute problem now is the lack of a multiprofiled
aircraft repair plants that would enable us to merge technological processes involving
repair and retrofit of aviation materiel, increase productivity, reduce delivery time, and
create more jobs in Russia.
We are considering an opportunity to rent part of the
industrial area and equipment from the naval aviations aircraft repair plant in
Pushkin, Leningrad Region. However, a key solution of the problem will be the use of
research and production potential and legal status of the Moscow Mil Helicopter
Plants pilot-production facility in Panki, Moscow Region.
To this end, jointly with the Moscow Mil Helicopter
Plant, we have established the Konvers-Mil Helicopter Production Complex.
The new company will focus on retaining a large number of
helicopters (at least 60 to 70 machines) that are being withdrawn from military service
and using them in Russias economy. This will be our contribution to the all-Russia
anti-crisis program at the time when the domestic aircraft industry is stagnating.
The aforementioned tasks are complicated,
yet practically achievable.