Russia’s Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters during exercises in October 2020.
Ukrainian firm Motor Sich JSC (Zaporozhye) has developed blades for Mi helicopters made of metal and composite materials.
Factory tests of the Mi-24’s metal blade and Mi-8’s composite blade began on December 24. This included a turn with a roll up to 60 degrees, a “slide” maneuver and a “turn on a hill.” State tests are planned to take place in 2021, topcor.ru reported citing Ukrainian portal Defense Express.
“Our blades have been calculated for strength and aerodynamics by our scientists. We are responsible for their reliability. We guarantee that these blades will last longer those manufactured in other countries,” said head of Motor Sich, Vyacheslav Boguslaev.
Vladimir Kolesnik, the pilot who flew the Mi-8SB during the trials, said, that the helicopter with the new blade performed “nicely” while making sharp turns and during combat maneuvers.
Chief designer of Motor Sich Alexander Zherdev claimed that a set of these new blades are cheaper than what Russia has sold it for ($800,000-900,000). The announcement of creation of new blades comes two weeks after Russian Helicopters accused Motor Sich and Aviakon for conducting “illegitimate” overhaul of Mi-17V-5 helicopters which it claims, puts “lives of American and Afghan pilots at risk.”
“We have been working towards this for 10 years. High-tech technologies, sophisticated equipment, many stands and slipways are involved. Structurally, the blades are distinguished by more advanced materials. We have about 200 engineers in the OKB, excluding production workers and technologists, who also took part in the manufacture,” Zherdev added.
Motor Sich has already preparing a production line. “We build a line of these blades – 60 sets per year. Next year we will make 20 sets for our troops,” Boguslaev stated further.
The Ukrainian military reportedly wants to buy metal blades for over 100 Mi-24 rotorcraft. The old blades of at least four Mi-24s are expected to be replaced with new ones next year.
“Old blades have already exhausted their resource. Helicopters don’t climb on those blades today. Vyacheslav Alexandrovich (Boguslaev) has promised to us that in 2021, we will be able to bring back many helicopters to the sky,” said the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak.
Last year around this time, Ukrainian state-owned defense conglomerate UkrOboronProm confirmed the sale of more than 50% of Motor Sich’s shares to China.