Russian firm suggests copter co-production with Turkey

Russia sees the possibility of launching joint helicopter production with Turkey, the head of a copter design and manufacturing company told Anadolu Agency.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of Monday’s meeting in Moscow of the Turkish and Russian presidents, Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Boginsky said he visited Turkey last week to talk with potential buyers.

Last year Russia and Turkey signed an agreement on three Ka-32 firefighting copters, but according to Boginsky, the numbers fall short of Turkey’s true needs.

“I say that not because we sell them, but because of our previous experience” with other countries, he explained.

“Take the example of South Korea, where the territory is much smaller than the territory of the Turkish Republic. But there are about 50 such helicopters in operation there.”

He added that the three copters would show the capabilities of Russian equipment.

Boginskiy touted the Turkish market’s potential and suggested exploring more areas of cooperation.

“This [Ka-32] contract took place thanks to the support of the Russian export center, these machines are being delivered under the credit scheme, and of course, we see the Turkish market as one of the most promising.

“We understand that in addition to supplying equipment, both sides need the support of organizations such as leasing companies, the Russian export center,” he said.

Boginsky added that such issues were discussed for two days “to lay the necessary groundwork.” He said Russia pays great attention to the aviation industry and export support, and so Russian organizations are ready to help with credits to potential consumers.

The right copter for the job

As Turkey already has experience in joint helicopter production with Italy, the same can be done with Russia, said Boginsky.

“We know the successful experience of our Turkish colleagues in producing combat helicopters with the help of colleagues from Italy. We see prospects in the civil sector too, and depending on our goals and objectives, we have different types of helicopters, so we’re open to suggestions,” he said.

Russian could also use components produced in Turkey, he said. Turkish aerospace firms make various components and Russia is ready to use them or buy end products, to certify them together with the Turkish side so that Russian-made copters with Turkish parts can be marketed to countries where Turkey has strong trade ties, he said.

“Comparing Turkey and Iran, the countries have about the same population, but by territory, Iran is twice as large,” he said.

“But Iran doesn’t have twice as many civilian helicopters as Turkey, but four or five times, according to our calculations. So the potential of the Turkish Republic is huge. If the Turkish government begins to develop such programs as firefighting, then we believe it will probably require at least 50-70 helicopters, if it’s a serious firefighting program.”

All countries suffer from wildfires which cause significant damage, he said, but helicopters can help minimize or even prevent such destruction.

Road accidents are another area where copters can help save lives, he said. “Two years ago the Health Ministry and Industry and Transport Ministry launched a joint program for the medical evacuation of victims, including from road accidents. If Turkey started a similar program, we have reliable twin-engine Ansat helicopters which have already been working in Russia and have proved their effectiveness,” he said.

The copters are flexible, so medical equipment made in Turkey could be installed there, as well as other devices, to help save lives, he added.