Gazprom has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Russian Helicopters which will see the Russian energy giant purchasing the aircraft manufacturer’s new Mi-171A3 maritime helicopter.

The Mi-171A3 is the first helicopter developed in Russia primarily for offshore operations. The aircraft was designed to comply with International Association of Oil and Gas Producers standards. A prototype was on display at last week’s MAKS 2021 airshow in Zhukovsky, near Moscow.

The production aircraft will have a maximum take-off weight of 13 tons and will incorporate a variety of features designed to meet the increased safety requirements of offshore flights, including an advanced digital avionics suite, a crash-resistant fuel system and an automatically activated ditching system.

The agreement between the two companies confirms that Russian Helicopters will be responsible for testing, certification and serial production of the helicopter. It also covers the establishment of repair and servicing facilities, as well as training and simulation centres for flight and maintenance personnel.

Announcing the deal, the companies gave no immediate indication of how many aircraft might be ordered by the energy company, noting only that “Gazprom intends to purchase Mi-171А3 helicopters according to its current needs, as well as to place orders for repairs and service maintenance”.

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