Russian Helicopters launched series production of the Mi-171A2 in early 2017, according to the company’s new director general, Andrey Boginsky, who said four machines are planned for roll-out this year. The Mi-171A2’s production line is at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in Eastern Siberia. Boginsky did not reveal the name of the launch customer for the Mi-171A2, which remains in its certification testing phase and is expected to obtain its type certificate from Rosaviatsia (the new Russian aircraft certification authority) by late 2017.
The 14-tonne Mi-171A2 is an upgrade of the Mi-8 with improved performance, optimised for commercial passenger and cargo transport, SAR missions and VIP transport. It features a new rotor system with composite blades, the KBO-17 digital avionics suite, two FADEC-equipped Klimov VK-2500PS-03 turboshaft engines and a Safir auxiliary power unit.
The first Mi-171A2 prototype, dubbed OP- 1, made its maiden flight on November 25, 2014, followed by OP-2 on November 9, 2015. Russian Helicopters’ original plan was to complete certification in 2016. That never happened. The delay may eventually amount to less than a year.