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Arms and Security 2019: Ukraine showcases its capacity to overhaul Russian helicopters

Ukraine’s aerospace sector highlighted its ability to service and support Russian-made helicopters during the 8-11 October Arms and Security expo in Kiev, presenting static displays of Mil Mi-17 and Mi-2 helicopters that had been completely overhauled and modernised by Ukrainian firms.

The lead enterprises for these helicopter upgrades are the Motor Sich aero engine enterprise and the Aviakon plant, which both have had extensive experience with the Mi-17 and Mi-24 in particular. Motor Sich is one of the only plants building the Mi-17’s power plant, although the engine itself is of a Russian design.

The heart of Motor Sich’s Mi-17 modernisation package is the new TV3-117VMA-SBM1 Series 5 turboshaft engine, which offers a service life 30% longer than the previous model and also lower fuel consumption. The company has also reduced the empty weight of the Mi-17 by replacing much of the interior armour plating with Kevlar. The helicopter can carry cargo of up to six tonnes.

The aircraft shown by Motor Sich at the Kiev expo also featured a new state-of-the-art cockpit with almost all of the former Soviet-era instrumentation replaced by a modern ‘glass cockpit’ configuration, including displays for a new onboard radar and sensor ball.

Motor Sich representatives at the expo explained that the aircraft “is designated the Mi-8MSB-V once we have made the conversion to our configuration. It might have originally been the older model Mi-8 or it might have been the later variant, the Mi-17, but once we are finished with it, this is the model designation we use.”

Ukraine’s Mi-8MSB-V, a comprehensive upgrading of the original Mi-8/17, as displayed during the 8-11 October Arms and Security expo in Kiev. (Reuben Johnson)

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