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The annual International Exhibition of Rotorcraft Equipment (or HeliRussia) was held at the Crocus Expo Centre on the outskirts of Moscow from 15 to 17 September with 153 exhibitors (including 40 from the media) making it the smallest since 2009. Previously scheduled for May, it was moved to this new date due to COVID -19, making the timing suboptimal as the show happened two weeks after the Army-2020 Forum, where 90 per cent of the national industry took part. As per the Russian State requirement, the “mask-and-gloves” regime was implemented.

Most of the participants were Russian, joined by a few enterprises from Belarus, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The USA were represented by Bell Textron which displayed the Bell-505 light single-engine helicopter, a vehicle already registered in Russia. The company representative claimed that their other product – the corporate Bell-429 – has become the most popular VIP-rotorcraft in Russia, with 20 units supplied so far.

The Show had few novelties as all of the latest defence related products were showcased at Army-2020, although two rotorcraft were displayed outside the Crocus Centre, in the form of the Mi-38 medium-transport helicopter and Ka-32A11BC.

The first one has been in serial production at the Kazan Helicopter Plant since January 2018, with 15 vehicles contracted by the Russian Ministry of Defence, and two already delivered, while Rosoboronexport has reported the first export contract to an unspecified customer. The Ka-32A11BC is a successful machine in serial production at the Kumertau Plant, though a new feature was visible at the expo, an SP-32 water tank for fire-fighting. This equipment is intended for the Ka-32A11M, the latest member of the Ka-32 family on offer to the Republic of Korea, which has operated 41 Ka-32 rotorcraft for about 20 years.

COVID19 Considered

The main attraction inside the hall was the ANSAT light multifunctional helicopter, a vehicle which has been serially produced by the Kazan Helicopter Plant. ANSAT stands for “easy” or “light” in the Tatar language, with about one hundred copies having been produced so far with the Russian MoD, Ministry of Emergency Situations and State Leasing company as the main operators, alongside smaller ones overseas. The novelties on show included an optional Emergency Floating System and an extra fuel tank to extend the ANSAT’s flying distance from 140-150km to a total of 650km. Also on display were an upgraded medical module for single person transportation and a sanitary box for infected patients to respond to the threat of COVID19.

Needless to say that Russia has always been strong in the area of military helicopter production for both domestic and export customers because according to Rosoboronexport, over 1000 rotorcraft have been delivered abroad within the last 20 years. Accordingly, Mil and Kamov exhibits featured on the Rosoboronexport stand.

The dates of the next HeliRussia exhibition have been announced as 20-22 May 2021.

Yury Laskin