The new machine is said to be cheaper than its foreign analogues
It took specialists about 20 years to develop the new up-to-date chopper Mi-38. The project of the helicopter is estimated at $800 million. The end price of one aircraft is not known yet, although manufacturers say that it will be a lot lower as opposed to foreign analogues. The production of the new chopper will be launched in 2008, although the aircraft has its buyers already.
”This is a true breakthrough in the field of the helicopter engineering. Almost the entire machine is new: the new power-plant, the reduction gear, the transmission, the main and the anti-torque rotors, the cockpit. The maneuvering ability of the new chopper is comparable to the one of the Mi-28, which is a highly mobile aircraft,” test pilot Alexander Klimov said. “Specialists of our institute conducted the tests in wind tunnels. We believe that the Mi-38 possesses best aerodynamic qualities among all other Russian helicopters,” deputy director of the Central Aerodynamic Institute,Yevgeni Vozhdaev, said.
The Mi-38 will have to be certified after the preliminary stage of the tests is over. The general director of the helicopter-making plant in the city of Kazan, Alexander Lavrentyev, is quite careful in his forecasts. According to him, the certification of the new model will be over in 2007, and the series production will probably be launched in 2008. It is supposed that the helicopter-making factory in Kazan will produce three or four other prototypes to test the machine. Each of those helicopters will cost 335 million rubles.
Alexander Lavrentyev stated that the project of the new modern helicopter will be estimated at $700-800 million. A half of the sum has been already spent. The Kazan-based factory invested about $125 in the project – the costs are expected to be compensated after 80-90 of new choppers are sold. The helicopter-making factory plans to produce 10-12 machines a year. Therefore, the company will have its money back only after the year 2015.
According to market researches, the potential market of the Mi-38 helicopter is estimated at 300-350 choppers. Russian buyers will acquire 200 machines, and every third chopper will be exported. The general director of the company believes that the Mi-38 will be a lot cheaper than its foreign analogues – Italian-British EH-101 (it costs $25-27 million), and the US's Sikorsky S-92 ($20-22 million). The end price of the new Russian aircraft has not been exposed yet.