Russia to begin production of new high-speed helo in 2022 | World Defense

Russia to begin production of new high-speed helo in 2022


Dec 5, 2014
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Russia to begin production of new high-speed helo in 2022
Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
01 September 2015

Russia's future RACHEL high-speed helicopter will no doubt feature elements of Kamov's new Ka-92 co-axial compound with a pusher-propeller design (pictured) to achieve its stated top speed of 270 kt. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen

Russia is to begin production of a new helicopter that will be capable of speeds of up to 270 kt (500 km/h; 310 mph) in the early part of the next decade, state media reported on 1 September.

Development of the high-speed helicopter is progressing well, with a prototype expected to make its maiden flight in 2018, the TASS news agency quoted Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces Colonel General Viktor Bondarev as saying. Serial production should begin in 2022, he added.

Commonly referred to as the Russian Advanced Commercial Helicopter (RACHEL), this new high-speed platform is being developed by the Mil and Kamov design houses as an eventual replacement for the Mil Mi-8/17 'Hip' series. Although billed in its moniker as a commercial project, it has obvious military applications with many hundreds of Mi-8/17s serving today in Russia and beyond.

A flying testbed is reportedly being built using elements of the Mi-35, but with a slightly altered fuselage and rotor system, to prove the speed parameters of the new design.

Both the Mil and Kamov bureaus involved in the RACHEL project have been working on potential Mi-8/17 replacement platforms in the Mi-38 and Ka-92, respectively. While the Mi-38's conventional helicopter design is very similar to that of the Mi-8/17, the Ka-92 has a more radical co-axial compound design with a pusher-propeller. Though the configuration of RACHEL has yet to be publically revealed, it will likely incorporate elements of both, with the high-speed elements coming largely from Kamov.

The Mi-38 has a maximum speed of 173 kt (320 km/h; 199 mph), while that of the Ka-92 is reportedly 216 kt (400 km/h; 249 mph). The RACHEL project will build on this with an even greater top speed that is comparable with that of the US-built Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor (274 kt; 509 kp/h; 316 mph).
Russia to begin production of new high-speed helo in 2022 - IHS Jane's 360