Russian Helicopters is presenting at HeliRussia 2012 the latest iteration of the Mil Mi-8/17 helicopter family, the modernized Mi-171A2. Also here at the exhibition, Ulyanovsk Instrument Manufacturing Design Bureau (UIMDB, part of Aircraft Engineering Concern) is demonstrating the KBO-17 avionics package for the new helicopter.
UIMDB deputy chief designer Oleg Kuznetsov says the KBO-17 will be the first glass-cockpit solution for the Mi-8/17 family. It comprises four 6 x 8-inch LCD multifunction displays, and also a central 15-inch indicator which displays imagery fed from an optical system covering the upper and lower hemispheres. Also integrated in the package are a two-channel digital autopilot, advanced communications equipment and GLONASS/GPS navigation capability. Kuznetsov says the KBO-17 reduces the crew count to two and the overhead instrument panel count from seven to three. The KBO-17 will be essential to the possible subsequent development of Mi-171A2 search-and-rescue and military versions.
The avionics package is in preliminary factory trials at the moment. The KBO-17 will be installed on the first Mi-171A2 prototype, which is currently being completed at the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. It is to enter flight tests this year. The new version’s certification and first deliveries are set for 2014.
The new modification is based on the Mi-171A1 model, currently in production at the Ulan-Ude helicopter plant. The Mi-171A2 will feature more powerful Klimov VK-2500PS FADEC engines with anti-surge control, composite main rotor blades, reinforced transmission, an X-shaped tail rotor, and integrated avionics. The helicopter is expected to have a range of 850 km without auxiliary tanks, compared to the 610 km for the Mi-171A; its external lifting capacity will be increased by 1,000 kg to reach 5,000 kg, and its cruise speed will also be augmented. The developers promise significant improvements in directional control and crosswind hover performance.