The Mil Mi-38 is the collaborative product of several big names in the helicopter industry. Although the Mil plant in Moscow is developing, designing and testing the helicopter at present other major parts of the project are in the hands of partner companies. The fuselage, rotors and actual assembly of the Mi-38 is the responsibility of Kazan Helicopters. The Tatarstan-based company also produces the Mi-8, Mi-17 and its own Ansat and Aktai aircraft. The power plants are from either Pratt & Whitney Canada or the Russian Klimov company, providing the PW127/TS or TV7-117V respectively. The Thales group is providing avionics for the Mi-38.
At the time of writing the Mi-38 has yet to be certified and is essentially still a prototype aircraft, so some specific technical details may change for final production and military models.
The Mi-38 is meant to replace the sizable fleet of Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium helicopters. It will also partially take over tasks performed by the obsolete Mi-6 heavy transport. Which was retired by the Russian CAA in 2002. As a multi-role medium range helicopter the Mi-38 will not only transport cargo and passengers, but also perform utility roles in the forestry, construction, rescue, medical and scientific industries. To name but a few.
The Mi-38 is truly a 21st century aircraft that incorporates the latest in material science and computerization. The high level of automation present in the Mi-38 allows for single pilot operation, thanks in part to highly intuitive and advanced cockpit display systems.
The glass fiber material that makes up the main parts of rotors and tail have, for practical purposes, an unlimited lifespan. This is especially important given that the Mi-6 was possible retired (in part) because its wooden tail rotor had longevity issues. Some components of the Mi-38 will last between four and six times that of the Mi-6 and Mi-17, while the maintenance burden has been halved in comparison.
The Mi-38 can operate in a wide range of environments, from –60°C to 50°C, day or night. It’s demonstrated the potential of its modern technology by breaking several record for its class. A payload-less flight that reached 8 620 meters (28 280 ft), reaching 3 000 meters (9843 ft) in only six minutes and 6 000 meters (19 685 ft) in ten minutes. The Mi-38 also proved its transport credentials by reaching 7 895 meters (25 902 ft) with 1 000 kilograms (2 205 lb) on board and 7 020 meters (23 031 ft) with double that.
Both military and civil versions will be for sale and certification for versions using the Klimov engines are expected in 2015.