Russian Air Force gets new helicopter trainer

The Russian Air Force has received the first batch of P&W-powered Ansat-U light training helicopters. The first three rotorcraft were handed over to the Syzran military flight school on October 8, with two more following on October 20. According to the Air Force, the school’s Ansat fleet will have expanded to seven helicopters by year-end.
The Ansat-U version was developed by Kazan Helicopters in 2004 from the baseline Ansat light twin under the requirements of the Russian Defense Ministry. According to Air Force Commander Col-Gen Alexander Zelin, the type will replace the ageing Mil Mi-2 as the initial helicopter trainer in military schools. The Ansat-U was chosen for this role as the first Russian fly-by-wire helicopter. Its KSU-A fly-by-wire system developed by MRPC Avionika can emulate a number of single- and twin-engine rotorcraft types, and also allows for safe engine-failure simulation. The Ansat-U differs from the baseline model in dual flying controls and an additional seat for instructor located behind the pilot’s seats. The cabin can accommodate up to six cadets waiting their turn at the controls. The original skid landing gear is replaced with a wheeled undercarriage for taxi training.  In 2008, this modification completed government evaluation trials and was approved for service as a basic training helicopter. It became the Russian Air Force’s first rotorcraft equipped with a foreign powerplant. Due to the lack of a suitable indigenous helicopter engine, the Ansat is powered by a pair of 630hp Pratt & Whitney PW-207K turboshafts. The American manufacturer promised to launch local assembly of these engines.

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