Russian Firefighting Helicopters Ensure Global Safety
The Russian firefighting Ka-32A11BC, Mi-17, and Mi-26T are ready to keep the Earth safe from fires in the summer season – always a potential hazard in many countries.
Russian Helicopters offers rotorcraft fit for fighting fires of any complexity. They can also perform search and rescue operations. Russian Helicopters keeps the needs of its customers in mind when building medium and heavy helicopters in the firefighting variant, and creating firefighting kits for ordinary transport helicopters that can be installed on the ground in an emergency.
Many countries, including South-East Asian, are traditional buyers and operators of Russian rotorcraft. Russian Helicopters highly values its cooperation with Indian partners and is set to further develop it.
Today Russian firefighting rotorcraft are operated in 30 countries worldwide. The most popular is the Russian all-weather multi-role Ka-32A11BC that has been certified in major regions – America, Asia, Europe, and from 2010 in India. It is regarded by leading experts as the best in its category. The Ka-32A11BC is unrivalled in firefighting, especially in mountainous terrain and top floors of tall buildings.
Coaxial rotors are particularly useful in firefighting (in highly turbulent atmosphere). The coaxial rotors of the Ka-32A11BC ensure greater precision and control in highly turbulent atmospheres, allowing highly accurate dumping at lower altitude. Besides, the high climb rate lets the Ka-32A11BC pilot leave the area on fire with a rapid maneuver.
The Ka-32A11BC offers over 40 equipment options, including various Bambi-bucket and Simplex systems, water cannons for horizontal firefighting, water turrets, foldable rescue cabins of different capacity, and other equipment.
September 2009 saw the certification of the Ka-32A11BC by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The helicopter was given type certificate EASA.IM.R.133. It allows any company to commercially operate the helicopter. Before that it was used by some EU state authorities for firefighting and mountain power line construction pursuant to Specific Airworthiness Specification (SAS).
In 2008 the Ka-32A11BC was certified by China, Indonesia, and South Korea. It received a Mexican type certificate in 2005. Canada issued a supplement to the certificate allowing administrative passenger transportation in 2006 (the certificate itself was issued back in 1998).
Various modifications of the Ka-32 are successfully operated in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Canada, South Korea, Chile, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan, China, Papua New Guinea, and other countries. In South Korea the fleet of Ka-32s exceeds 60 – these helicopters are top scorers in the Forestry Service (firefighting) and Coast Guard.
Russian Helicopters also offers its firefighting modification of the Mi-26T helicopter, a machine of choice for the Russian EMERCOM. It is equipped with VSU-15, a system designed to carry up to 19.6 tons of water externally and drop it within 15 seconds onto a fire or into ground-based containers. The crew can fill the bucket in 10 seconds from open bodies of water as shallow as 1 m while hovering.
In a 5-minute cycle, 1 litre of water delivered will cost $0.05 (fixed-wing aircraft – about $0.33—0.55). Russian-made heavy firefighting helicopters have shown good results in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, South Korea in wildfire fighting over large areas. With their use, damages from fires were brought down by 83-85%.
VSU-5 – a similar system at three times smaller capacity – was made for medium helicopters of the Mi-8/17 family. The Lesnik simulator system has been updated to imitate turbulence common to wildfire locations, allowing efficient crew training. All necessary updates were made by the simulator manufacturer in cooperation with Russian Helicopters. To simulate water drops from an external frame Lesnik is fitted with an additional seat for the operator of the external frame and wrench.
About 300 Mi-8/17 helicopters are already operated in the Asia-Pacific Region.
“Almost everyone who buys the Mi-8/17 and sees them in action becomes our regular customer. Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant and Kazan Helicopter Plant, producing these helicopters within the framework of the Russian Helicopters holding company, already have a two-year order backlog. Stable increase of demand for the Mi-171 by 25-30% annually indicates that the medium helicopter market is growing. Russian Helicopters is reacting early to the demand of operators in this segment, offering them modern Russian-made rotorcraft fitted with any equipment necessary,” Russian Helicopters spokesman underlined.
Russian Helicopters, JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom. It controls the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company named after N.I. Sazykin, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM, Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant and Helicopter Service Company.