Rosneft to get new helicopters ahead of schedule
Russian Helicopters is looking to deliver four newly built helicopters to Rosneft ahead of schedule at the request of the Russian oil-and-gas giant’s subsidiary air operator RN-Aero. “Under the contract signed with RN-Aero in October 2015, the two [Mil] Mi-171 helicopters were to be delivered in November 2016, followed by the two Mi-8AMT helicopters in January 2017,” the Russian Helicopters press service told Show Observer. “Russian Helicopters is prepared to deliver all four in Q4 2016.” The Mi-171s will be delivered in the already certified standard variant, to be used by Rosneft for transporting shift teams and freights to onshore oil and gas sites. The two Mi-8AMT aircraft will feature customized avionics for precision navigation in northern regions. The avionics suite will include a strapdown inertial navigation system, a digital autopilot, improved navigation and landing equipment, a rangefinder, and a SAR direction finder. “This equipment will give the Mi-8AMTs fully autonomous precision navigation capability in areas where satellite signals and ground beacons are unavailable, enabling restricted visibility operations over featureless terrain around the clock and in any weather,” the Russian Helicopters says. The company has no immediate plans to introduce a special designation for the Rosneft-configured Mi-8AMTs. RN-Aero has no air operator’s certificate; most likely, the company will announce a tender to select one or more operators for the new helicopters. “The request for Russian Helicopters to speed up the deliveries has to do with the fact that Rosneft is intensifying its work in [Russia’s] Krasnoyarsk Territory’s subpolar areas, including the offshore portion of the East Taymyr oil field,” says a Show Observer source in one of the airlines to bid in the RN-Aero tender.