Russia's VK-650V Helicopter Engine Ready for Tests

On June 21, the UEC supplied the first prototype VK-650V engines to begin flight testing of the import-substituted Ansat helicopter.
  • bureau
  • 08:07 AM, June 21, 2024
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Russia's VK-650V Helicopter Engine Ready for Tests
VK-650V engine @Rostec

The United Engine Corporation (UEC) supplied the first prototype VK-650V engines, potentially reviving Ka-226T helicopter sales to India and boosting international demand for Ansat choppers as flight testing begins.

These prototypes, produced at ODK-Klimov in St. Petersburg, have undergone preliminary and life tests. Currently, the VK-650V is being prepared for ground testing as part of the Ansat helicopter, with the goal of receiving clearance for its first flight soon.

UEC specialists are systematically carrying out development work on the engine, which is so necessary for light civil aviation. Last year, the UEC-Klimov enterprise successfully completed engineering tests of the VK-650V, all the necessary parameters were achieved. Now the equipment is preparing to begin flight tests. By the end of 2024, we plan to receive a type certificate and begin mass production next year,” said Evgeniy Prodanov, director of the VK-650 program at ODK-Klimov.

In February 2023, Vladimir Drozhzhov, deputy head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), highlighted stalled negotiations with India over Ka-226T production due to unmet localization targets for joint production. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is in need of Ka-226Ts to replace its aging fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. The dual-engine design and co-axial propeller system of the Ka-226T present an advantage in terms of survivability in hazardous terrains compared to the Cheetah, Chetak, and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) models.

The VK-650V, the first Russian helicopter engine in the 650-750 horsepower class, is designed to replace foreign engines in both Ansat and Ka-226T helicopters. Its design allows for various modifications and has already been integrated into a hybrid power plant combining a gas turbine engine with an electric motor. Compared to its foreign counterparts, the VK-650V offers greater take-off power and superior specific characteristics, making it a promising option for helicopters with a take-off weight of up to 4 tons.

The Ansat helicopter, a light twin-engine multi-purpose rotorcraft produced by the Kazan Helicopter Plant under the Russian Helicopters holding company, boasts a spacious passenger cabin accommodating up to seven people. It is designed for versatility, easily converting between cargo and passenger configurations, and is certified for use in extreme temperature ranges from -45 to +50 degrees Celsius, including high-altitude operations.

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