Mi-171E helicopter

Russian state-arm-exporter Rosoboronexport has signed a contract with Poly Technologies to deliver additional Mil Mi-171E Hip multi-role transport helicopters to the China People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

The agreement, signed in August 2012, follows a previous contract signed between Russian Helicopters and Poly Technologies in December 2009 for the production and supply of 32 Mi-171E helicopter along with training support to the Chinese Air Force for transportation purposes, including operations in highland areas.

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Under the new contract, Rosoboronexport will supply a total of 52 Mi-171Es to help further improve the air force’s tactical airlift capabilities.

The contract value, which was not disclosed by the two companies, is expected to amount between $550m and $660m, according to local media reports.

Built by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAP), the Mi-171E is an export variant of Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopter, and is designed to conduct troop and cargo transport, search and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions in all weather conditions.

The Chinese versions are integrated with VK-2500-03 engines, SAFIR 5K/G MI auxiliary power units and enhanced transmission systems, on request from PLAAF, to enable operations at higher altitudes including mountainous terrain.

The helicopter also includes search and rescue equipment for conducting special operations during night and low visibility conditions.

Mi-171Es are used by the PLAAF for conducting a broad range of military operations, such as transportation of bulky cargo, passengers, geologic exploration, patrolling, fire fighting, and offshore missions.

The first eight helicopters under the contract will be delivered later this year, while the remaining are scheduled for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Image: A Mi-171E helicopter during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Russian ?elicopters, JSC 2012 ©.