“The Doors Are Not Closed to Anyone” – Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov

Dmitry Petrov believes Russian Helicopters’ model line is competitive in the most lucrative market segments, and the types of machines lacking today will be developed jointly with the Italians and Chinese.

The only company controlled by Russian Technologies State Corporation that has over the past several years been able to boost output and revenues several fold and prepare for an IPO is Russian Helicopters. Sergei Chemezov’s subordinates began working on the holding’s formation in the early 2000s. Last year’s contracts signed with Russia’s Defence Ministry for several hundred helicopters ensure that holding’s factories will be busy through 2020.

- What kind of products are you lacking in comparison to what Eurocopter and other competitors are offering?

- The most lucrative segment of our market worldwide is military attack helicopters, medium class helicopters (the Mi-8/17 class) and heavy helicopters, as they are the most expensive. In all of these niches we are the absolute leaders. As far as other market niches are concerned, we are working on them. We have a product line in lighter classes – the Ka-226T and Ansat. Furthermore, at the Farnborough Air Show in Great Britain we signed an agreement with one of the leading global producers on the development of a light helicopter on a parity basis.

- This partner is Agusta Westland?

- Yes, the signed preliminary framework agreement with Agusta Westland stipulates joint development, production and sales of a cutting-edge single-motor helicopter of 2.5 tonnes. It is assumed that the new helicopter will be sold on the global market and used in various fields. Russian Helicopters’s cooperation with other producers who are also global market leaders is an important part of our strategy to develop new products to meet the growing demands of our clients throughout the world.

Military contracts and VIP transport

- You presented at Farnborough the new look of the Ka-62, and everyone noted how similar it features are to those of the AW139 Agusta Westland, which you plan to begin assembling in the near future in Lyubertsy. Does this not imply senseless competition between these two projects?

- We thought about that question not when we were presenting the new Ka-62 but in fact much earlier, and we separated these models before a decision was made on the creation of the new Ka-62 and the assembly of AW139 in Russia. The AW139 will be used primarily for corporate and VIP transport, and the orders are coming in for these configurations. The Ka-62 covers a broader spectrum – from passenger to utilitarian uses. Their niches are completely separated and there is no competition.

Classified information

- How do you assess Russian avionics producers? Will the share of imported avionics and other such components increase in the helicopters which you produce, or are Russian companies competitive in this area?

- A distinction should be made between avionics and other special equipment, such as precision aiming systems.

As far as avionics is concerned, the major Russian and global producers are on the same level, and there is not basis for saying that our avionics and foreign avionics are generations apart. As far as special equipment for military and special machines is concerned, at present there is a certain lag behind foreign producers. We, incidentally, use foreign equipment as agreed with our clients, including Russian government clients. But right now we are making a concerted effort in our work with the Russian industry, and recently, for instance, we spoke with the Urals Optical & Mechanical Plant about future optical-electronic systems, and I am confident that in the near future we will be at the world-class level.

- Could you list the most important contracts in terms of the financial aspect with the Ministry of Defence?

- The numbers are classified but the largest in terms of money is the contracts for attack helicopters: the Ka-52 and Mi28N. The largest in terms of number of machines is for the transport and attack Mi-8/17. In total there are eight long-term contracts, some of which run through 2020, some of which end earlier and some of which have yet to be signed. The total volume of these contracts is in the tens of billions roubles.

On money and people

- Has the new National Helicopter Centre in Tomilino begun functioning yet? Have many designers and engineers quit because they find it difficult to commute from Moscow? It was said that no one planned to go to the centre and that the whole affair was just some commercial real estate scam.

- When we decided to create this centre in 2008, there really was a lot of talk about how no one would go there, how it was difficult to get there and that there was no sense in gathering all the engineers in one place. As it turned out, practically all the engineers and designers of Mil moved to the new centre. Only a handful did not make the move, citing health or age concerns. As far as the Kamov design bureau is concerned, and the move is already underway, I am confident that the result will be the same. For them it is even easier, as the bureau has historically been situated in the Moscow Region not too far from the new centre. We are creating a consolidate competency centre on the basis of two renowned schools, which will increase the effectiveness of research and design work, preserving creative competition while lower expenses and eliminating redundant functions.

Source: 
Vedomosti newspaper

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