The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken delivery of the first batch of four upgraded Mi-8AMTSh transport helicopters from Russian Helicopters.
The helicopters have successfully been delivered to their new duty stations after upgrades, which took place at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAP) as part of the long-term state defence contract awarded in August 2013, were completed.
Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev said: "The new helicopters will help strengthen our national defence capabilities.
"The Defence Ministry is a key customer for Russian Helicopters, and we are committed to producing reliable and fail-safe helicopters as one of its priorities under the state defence order."
UUAP managing director Leonid Belykh said: "Improving the capabilities of our helicopters is a core priority for us.
"In conjunction with Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant, which designs Mi-8/17 helicopters, we are able to offer the Russian Defence Ministry the latest helicopters, which combine their unique operating experience with the latest technologies."
The upgrades, which focused on the reduction of maintenance requirements over the life-cycle of the helicopter, include the installation of enhanced VK-2500 engines and a strengthened transmission to provide independent control of hours logged-in service and to improve the aircraft's operational efficiency in mountainous terrain and hot climates.
The helicopters have also been fitted with new TA-14 auxiliary power-plants, advanced weapons systems, enhanced capacity batteries and the latest navigational equipment, such as night-vision goggles, which enable the helicopter to fly a full range of military missions, day and night.
The helicopter's potential capabilities have been significantly expanded with the addition of search and rescue missions and troop drops equipment, and medical equipment for the evacuation of wounded personnel.
The upgraded helicopters have a time between overhaul of 2,000 hours and a service-life of 35 years, while operating costs across the life-cycle have been reduced by approximately 25%-30%, compared to the basic model.
Image: An upgraded Mi-8AMTSh transport helicopter in flight. Photo: © 2014 'Russian Helicopters, JSC'.