Jack of all blades
August 17, 1999, “Ansat”, a light helicopter manufactured by Kazan Helicopters, soared into the sky for the first time. This helicopter nicknamed “simple” (this is how the word “ansat” is translated from the Tatar language) soon confirmed the words said by famous Bruce Lee: “Simplicity is the key to brilliance”. The excellence in winning the market demonstrated by this machine is most clearly seen at MAKS where Ansat has regularly appeared in new forms.
MAKS, do you remember how it all started?
The mid-1990s were tough time for domestic aircraft engineering. Government funding was at the minimum level. Airlines bought little to no new airplanes. There were no state-guaranteed orders. But the management of Kazan Helicopters thought long-term, because one of the most mainstream national Mi-2 helicopters would soon need to be replaced. The work on its successor started in 1994. The enthusiasm of newly established design studio contributed to the construction of a full-scale mockup in 1997 and taking a prototype to the air a few years later. During the period of flight testing, a new program was presented at the exhibitions with the use of models and mockups. Thus, the mockups of light attack helicopter “Ansat-RC” and its equivalent designed for air medical service were displayed next to each other on the static site at MAKS-2001. The specialists realized that “Ansat” was not as simple as it seemed: it was an end-to-end platform suitable for construction of various versions, including those which could be used for carriage of passengers and cargo, as VIP aircrafts, air ambulance, and that was not the half of it!
Meanwhile, Kazan aircraft designers decided to equip the machine with a spacious cockpit (remarkable eight cubic meters; today, it’s one of the largest and most ergonomic cockpits in this class of helicopters) to make the new helicopter simple and easy to use. A torsion suspension system which significantly improved the rotor dynamic performance, helicopter controllability and reduced the operating costs replaced the traditional articulated suspension structure of main rotor blades.
Is it hard to train?
It is worth to mention another machine from the “Ansat” range: “Ansat-U” training helicopter. It may surprise you (and it has already surprised the army men) with its integrated command system (KSU-A). This digital system “translates” the aviator’s control movements into the “language” easily understood by the machine. This makes the helicopter controllable and easy to operate. Moreover, a smart electronic system can imitate the control of various types of helicopters, including both attack and transportation helicopters.
KSU-A was really ahead of time: at that time no civil helicopters equipped with such command system existed in the world, and there were no certification requirements for such system. That’s why in 2013 “Ansat” civil helicopters equipped with traditional hydromechanical control were certified by aviation authorities. But the Department of Defense had their own requirements, so, the pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces mastered the skills of flying the rotor-driven machines on “Ansat-U” helicopters which kicked off at MAKS-2009.
In 2015, “Ansat” helicopters were presented to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, at MAKS. That year a new period in the helicopter’s life began: it was certified for use with a healthcare module. In 2018, “Russian Helicopters” holding, including Kazan Helicopters, and National Air Medical Service signed the contracts for delivery of 104 “Ansat” helicopters equipped with healthcare module.
The first helicopters of this model were given to the air medical service in 2018-2019. The visitors of MAKS-2019 saw a new medical “Ansat” helicopter equipped with a “glass cockpit” with panels displaying HD video information and fully digital attitude and heading reference system. “The implemented innovations significantly improve the flight safety and extend the functions of “Ansat-RT”, says the Industrial Director of the Aviation Cluster of “Rostec” State Corporation, Anatoliy Serdyukov, during the aviation show.
Guests of MAKS-2019 were impressed by another novelty from “Russian Helicopters”, an “Ansat” VIP helicopter branded as Aurus which was able to carry up to five passengers. During the design stage, the Aurus manufacturers focused on the relevant VIP cars. The fact that designers from the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute (NAMI) were involved in its construction comes as no surprise. At MAKS-2019, the Director of “Russian Helicopters” holding, Andrey Boginsky, said: “In close collaboration with our colleagues from NAMI, we managed to implement this project in the shortest possible time. The interior development was started in April 2019 shortly after the approval of the design project. I am sure that “Ansat” will become a worthy addition to the Aurus range, and soon, upon completion of tests, we will be ready to accept the orders for a new machine”.
As at the program start, the “Ansat” developers look forward and try to meet the needs of the helicopter buyers by creating new modifications. Those who want to fly in the mountains will enjoy a confirmed ability to take off from the sites located at an altitude of 3.5 km. Those who want to fly further and longer will make use of a light version equipped with additional fuel tank. After the tests, the helicopter will be able to travel 640 km and more in a nonstop mode. “Ansat” confidently makes its way to the Russian and foreign markets. And, of course, we’ll see a new machine from this broad and consolidated range at MAKS-2021.
“Russian Helicopters is one of the world’s leading helicopter manufacturers, and the only developer and manufacturer of helicopters in Russia. Holding is not only a regular participant at MAKS, but also an author of numerous “show stoppers”, i.e. machines which the guests cannot pass by. The video clip reminds of the novelties which attracted the greatest interest among the guests of MAKS-2019.
We offer you to watch video clip “Russian Helicopters at MAKS-2019”