Russia to export helicopters to four African countries in 2016-2017

Mil Mi-35M helicopter (archive)

Mil Mi-35M helicopter (archive)

© Ladislav Karpov/TASS

PRETORIA, September 14. /TASS/. In 2016-2017, Russia will export the Mil Mi-8/17 and Mi-24/35 helicopters to Angola, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan, said Yury Demchenko, the head of the delegation for Russia’s arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, to the Africa Aerospace & Defense Expo, which opened in the South African Republic on Wednesday.

Demchenko pointed out that helicopters remained one of the most sought-after types of military hardware in Africa. In 2014-2016, Russian-made helicopters were exported to Angola, Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.

“In 2016-2017, we plan to continue exporting these helicopters to Angola, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria. Our position in the African helicopter market is solid, so we are optimistic about the prospects of cultivating it further,” the delegation chief added.

Russian weapons export to Africa keeps growing

According to the official, Russia’s military-technical cooperation with the African countries has been steady on the ascent for the past few years and a number of African countries have already joined the list of Russia’s main trading partners.

“By and large the share of Africa in the world export of weapons is relatively small. For instance sub-Saharan Africa accounts for about two percent, but the statistics of Russian weapons sales by Rosoboronexport in Africa showed steady growth for several years. A similar situation can be observed in northern Africa, where a number of countries in recent years considerably built up purchases of Russian weapons to have entered the list of our main partners in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” Demchenko said.

He believes that the African market is very promising for Russia and shows steady growth. To a certain extent this is a result of soaring threats from terrorists and pirates, as well as such problems as drug trafficking and illegal production of hydrocarbons and seafood, he explained.

“Besides, African states have been building up their participation in regional and international peacekeeping missions,” he recalled.

The weapons show in South Africa, which is being held on September 14-18, is the largest in Africa. According to the organizers, nearly 400 companies from 43 countries are taking part. According to earlier reports, the Russian delegation plans meetings with delegates from more than 25 countries in Africa, as well as delegations from a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

 

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Russia to Showcase Advanced Helicopter Models at South Africa Expo

September 14 – Russia will showcase existing and prospective helicopter models at the Africa Aerospace and Defense-2016 forum in South Africa. The Russian Helicopters company, part of the Rostec state corporation, will present current and future helicopter models at the Africa Aerospace and Defense-2016 (AAD 2016) exposition in South Africa, the company said in a statement Wednesday. “We have a traditionally strong position on African helicopter market, and we see South Africa as an important region for our products’ promotion. At this exposition we will showcase the current and future models of military helicopters. We hope that in the future this region’s air fleet will include these aircraft as well,” the company’s CEO Alexander Mikheev said, as quoted in the statement.
At the exposition, Russian Helicopters experts and their colleagues from Rosoboronexport will present the unique capabilities of the Mi-28NE attack helicopter and the Mi-35M multipurpose combat helicopter, as well as the Mi-8/17 military transport helicopter to the representatives of the official delegations and armed forces of the region.
The total number of Russian helicopters in air fleets of African countries is more than 700. Russian Helicopters already operates a service center for Russian civilian aircraft in South Africa in collaboration with Denel Aviation and hopes to expand the export of helicopters to the country. The AAD 2016 expo is taking place in Pretoria on September 14-18.

Russian Military Technologies's photo.

Riyadh, Qatar and Turkey ‘Responsible for Downing Russian Helicopter in Syria’

Mi-8/17

 

A Russian Mi-8 helicopter was shot down in northwestern Syria on Monday killing all five Russian servicemen on board. In an interview with Sputnik, Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos, Editor of Politics First Magazine, put the blame on an alliance of terrorist groups called the Army of Conquest and its suppliers.

“I have no doubt about that. They have in their possession advanced weapons. We are talking about tanks, other armored vehicles, antitank weapons and antiaircraft missiles. The question is who has supplied them with these antiaircraft missiles?” he continued, adding that they could have apparently been supplied by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.”

“Therefore, they are responsible for the downing of Russia’s Mi-8 helicopter, which was on a humanitarian mission in Syria, and for the death of all five Russian servicemen on board,” Marcus Papadopoulos continued.

Dr. Papadopoulos said that the Army of Conquest formed at the beginning of 2015 and after its formation it scored a major  battlefield victory when it captured Idlib city in the north of Syria and the rest of the province.

“Its political and financial backers are Saudi Arabia and Turkey and even though Ankara may now be reconsidering its policy of supporting Islamist terrorist groups, Turkey is the major supporter of the Army of Conquest responsible for numerous atrocities in Aleppo with their artillery bombardment of civilians,” he noted.

When asked that whether the downing of the Russian helicopter and the death of its crew will lead to the Army of Conquest losing its foreign sponsors or becoming officially recognized as a terrorist group, Dr. Papadopoulos said that “there is little chance of that happening because the Americans are supporting numerous other Islamist terrorist groups in Syria.”

He said that when in 2013 Daesh started to make its move in Syria there was no condemnation from the American government. It was only toward the end of that year when Daesh reemerged in Iraq and started posing a direct threat to the Western-backed Iraqi government that the Americans finally acted. Prior to that, they were only too happy to see Daesh advancing in Syria, capturing Syrian territories and committing atrocities.

“So there is no chance of the US listing the Army of Contest as a terrorist group,” Dr. Papadopoulos noted.

The downing of the Russian helicopter came shortly after Daesh posted a video where it called for waging a jihad against Russia.

When asked whether these two things could be connected somehow, Dr. Papadopoulos said that after Russia launched its antiterrorist campaign in Syria that actually turned the table in that conflict, it is now seen by Daesh, al-Nusra Front, the Army of  Conquest and others as one of their main enemies.Answering a question about the terrorists disseminating video accounts of their atrocities, Dr. Panadopoulos said that such photos and videos must be banned and that there should be censorship.

“I don’t really care what people in the West say about censorship being not in line with Western values of democracy and freedom of expression. There has to be a line drawn somewhere, that pictures of atrocities, beheadings, of bodies being dragged behind trucks should be prohibited on social media.”

“This would deprive the terrorists of a very important channel of recruitment. We have to fight them on the battlefield and we should also beat them on social media by banning their pages on Facebook and preventing them from uploading their appalling photos and videos,” Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos emphasized.

The downing of the Mi-8 has become the deadliest episode for the Russian military since it started bombing terrorist-held territories in Syria in September 2015.

Syrian Rebels Shot Down Mi-8 Helicopter to ‘Ruin Russia’s Aid Operation’

Rebel fighters and civilians inspect the wreckage of a Russian helicopter that had been shot down in the north of Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, Syria

 

The Russian Mi-8 helicopter could have been downed by those who wanted to “ruin a humanitarian operation” that Moscow and Damascus launched in Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city that has been devastated by the ongoing conflict, the newspaper Vzglyad reported.

The helicopter was en route to the Hmeymim air base following an aid mission in Aleppo when it was shot down, claiming the lives of five people on board. It was part of an ongoing campaign aimed at helping those trapped in the city. In the last 24 hours, 6,500 food packages, including flour, rice, canned meat and fish, were delivered to the area, the Russian Centre for reconciliation reported on Monday.

Some have questioned whether the Mi-8 helicopter was truly on a humanitarian mission since it was armed with high-tech weaponry, including launch pod containers and the Vitebsk electronic warfare system, but experts say that there is nothing surprising about this fact.Launch pod containers can be seen in several images supposedly taken at the Mi-8 crash site. The helicopter needed those for defense, not attack missions. An air force pilot, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the news agency RBC that Mi-8 crews who are tasked with flying missions in conflict areas have always used these weapons.

“The fact that they carry out a humanitarian mission does not mean that they cannot defend themselves,” the source said.

Media reports also indicated that the downed helicopter was outfitted with the Russian-made Vitebsk electronic warfare system. The Vitebsk, developed by KRET, is meant to protect an aircraft or a rotorcraft from incoming missiles. The system, developers reported in September 2015, has passed all tests.

Yet the Vitebsk does not provide 100-percent protection, defense analyst Vasily Kashin told RBC. “Even if [the attackers] used a shoulder-carried missile launcher the Vitebsk has been designed to protect against, the missile could have reached its target,” he said.

The Russian military has not released information on what exactly was used to down the plane, but it is rumored to be exploring several options. These include a shoulder-carried missile launcher, a heavy machine gun, like the DShK 1938 or the KPVT, a grenade dispenser and a small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery, a source close to Russian Aerospace Forces’ command told Gazeta.ru.The Mi-8 tragedy took place in the neighboring province of Idlib that has been controlled by the Army of Conquest (Jaish al-Fatah), an umbrella organization that includes al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and other Syrian rebels who are fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and establish a caliphate.

Russia launched its humanitarian operation in Aleppo on July 28. Three humanitarian corridors were opened in the city surrounded by Damascus-led forces, but held by radical groups. Moscow has pledged to deliver food and provide medical assistance to locals. Approximately 14 tons of humanitarian aid were delivered in the first three days of the operation.

Russia Supplies Mi-26TS Heavy Transport Helicopter to China

Versatile, wide-body caro helicopter Mi-26T

 

The Russian Helicopters company on Thursday announced that it had supplied the fourth Mi-26TS heavy transport helicopter to China.

 The Mi-26TS is an export version of the Mil Mi-26T helicopter. Russian Helicopters signed the supply contract with China’s Lectern Aviation Supplies Co Ltd in 2014. China has been operating three such helicopters to date.

“The Russian Helicopters holding has supplied an Mi-26TS heavy lift cargo helicopter to the People’s Republic of China. The helicopter was built at the Rostvertol plant. The helicopter took off from the plant’s flight test station on June 23… Its arrival to China is expected on July 2,” the manufacturer said in a statement.

The Mi-26TSs currently being operated by China are being used by the State Forestry Administration to put out forest fires, according to the statement. It was noted in the press release that the new helicopter is due to enter service in July.”The supplied helicopter was procured for the needs of the Shandong province where there is active ongoing work to preserve and extend forest cover being carried out. The helicopter will be used to tackle blazes and transport equipment and bulky cargo,” deputy CEO of the Russian Helicopters Alexander Shcherbinin was quoted as saying in the statement.

The Mi-26TS was developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and is produced by the Rostvertol plant located in Rostov-on-Don. The aircraft has a total payload of 20 metric tons and is equipped with modern electronic systems.

Work on Russian-Chinese heavy helicopter autonomous from 3rd countries — deputy PM

HUANGSHAN /China/, June 20. /TASS/. Russia has informed China that the work on the development of the Russian-Chinese heavy helicopter AHL (Advanced Heavy Lifter) is totally autonomous from third countries. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on Monday after a meeting of the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental commission on preparing regular meetings of the heads of government that it was important for the Chinese side to hear that the project is independent from Ukraine.

“We also informed (China) that we are completely independent from anyone else in this project. Because the work has started at the Perm-based Aviadvigatel Plant to create on the basis of the PD-14 engine a new engine, which has successfully passed flight tests”, he said.

“The PD-10 and PD-12V – these engines, especially PD-12V, are designed to replace the helicopter engine, which had been previously manufactured at Ukraine’s Zaporozhye-based Motor Sich Plant”, Rogozin said.

According to him, Russia acts within this project in accordance with the technical design specification developed by the Chinese side. “Therefore, it was important for the Chinese side to learn that the Russian side is now completely autonomous and independent in terms of technology for participation in this kind of project”, the Russian deputy prime minister said.

In May 2015, the holding Russian Helicopters and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) signed a framework agreement on cooperation in the sphere of the creation of an advanced heavy helicopter.

According to previous TASS reports, data published in September 2015 suggested that the AHL helicopter will have a seven-bladed main rotor with five-bladed tail rotor. The maximum takeoff weight of the rotorcraft will be 38.2 tons, the service ceiling – 5,700 meters. The helicopter flight range will reach 630 kilometers, maximum speed – 300 km per hour. The AHL lifting capacity will be10 tons if the cargo is placed inside and 15 tons – if it is placed on an external sling. The helicopter will be designed to operate round-the-clock in hot climates, mountainous terrain and all weather conditions, and will be able to fly a highly varied range of missions from transportation to medevac, firefighting and much more.

 

Afghanistan Requests Helicopter Deliveries From Russia – Foreign Ministry

A file photo showing an Afghan Mi-17 helicopter takes off for an air-assault training flight from Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan

 

Afghanistan sent an official request to Russia for the delivery of helicopters to Kabul, Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai said Thursday.

 The deputy foreign minister is on an official visit to Moscow, noting that one of the main goals of his trip was to urge Russian partners to provide military support to Afghanistan.

“We sent a request to the Russian Security Council for expanding cooperation [in the military field], including for the deliveries of helicopters to Kabul,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the deputy minister said that Kabul would ask Moscow to step up its military support to Afghanistan.Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil with violence drastically escalating in the country after Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada was appointed a new Taliban leader. The situation is exacerbated by the rising activity of other terrorist groups, such as Daesh, outlawed in many states worldwide, including Russia.