The Russian defense sector failed to sell a single piece of military hardware in China. But at least the public were shown a model of the future joint Russian-Chinese civilian aircraft.
Of the 700 companies from all over the world represented at the Airshow China 2016 international aerospace exhibition, 49 represented Russia. Yet Moscow was able to secure deals only in civil aviation at the airshow, which concluded on Nov. 6 in Zhuhai.
The Helicopters of Russia company will supply Chinese companies with 21 Ka-32, Mi-171 and Ansat helicopters, which will be exported for the first time.
Some customers bought only one or two samples of a particular model. For example, the Jiangsu Baoli Aviation Equipment company will get one helicopter of each model in 2017, with the Ansat supplied in its medical version.
The Wuhan Rand Aviation Technology Service company purchased two “medical” Ansat helicopters, two Mi-171s and one Ka-32 with an option of further purchases at the current price, if the aircraft prove their worth.
“One might suspect that Beijing purchased only several samples in order to study them and then start mass-producing them inside the country,” said head of the Mechanics and Energy Systems international laboratory under the University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, Pavel Bulat.
As Helicopters of Russia deputy general director Igor Chechikov told (in Russian) the TASS news agency, next year the company plans to sign new contracts to supply helicopters to China. He did not specify which particular models potential customers may be interested in.
In addition to helicopters, Russia signed an agreement for the supply of four Be-200 amphibious aircraft. The aircraft are to be delivered to Russia’s Chinese partners in 2018.