The VRT500 is being developed by Russian Helicopters subsidiary VR-Technologies for the light-class (2-ton and under) civilian helicopter market. The aircraft was first announced during MAKS 2017. The current schedule sees a prototype recording a first-flight in 2019 and deliveries/service introduction to follow either in 2020 or in 2021.
The VRT500 utilizes a conventional layout with the twin-seat cockpit at front and a modest passenger cabin directly aft. Vision out-of-the-cockpit is excellent thanks to the heavy use of large window panes across the front and sides of the airframe. Overhead of the cabin is the single engine installation. A single-boom tail arrangement is in play at the rear of the design and its raised position allows a rear easy-access cargo door to be fitted. The occupants enter/exit the vehicle through hinged automobile-style doors for the pilots and sliding doors for the passengers (up to five passengers can be carried). A simple four-point skid arrangement is used for ground-running.
The one unique quality of the VRT500 is its Kamov-style co-axial main rotor fit which seats one main rotor over the other and both spin in opposite directions. This has the same effect as a tail rotor unit to eliminate the natural effects of torque upon the airframe. The twin main rotor reduces complexity to the tail section as no long drive shaft is needed to power a tail rotor system. Each main rotor assembly is equipped with three blades of carbon fiber construction.
As it stands, the VRT500 is set to have a payload capacity of 1,610lb and a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 3,527lb. Maximum speeds will reach 250 kmh with cruising closer to 230 kmh. Its service ceiling is estimated at 20,000 feet and range is out to 460 nautical miles.
The company is envisioning sales reaching 1,000 units before the end of 2035 - no doubt threatening the Bell and Robinson hold of the sub-2-ton helicopter market by a noticeable degree should the VRT500 prove a commercial success.
August 2018 - TsAGI os Russia has completed initial testing of a scale model form of the VRT500 helicopter. The model passes all critical aerodynamic phases to this point in the program.
February 2021 - The Russian government has approved a joint-venture between Russian Helicopters and Tawazun Strategic Development Fund of the United Arab Emirates regarding expansion of the VRT500 helicopter program.
Russia (probable); United Arab Emirates (possible)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
Used in the aerial training role to cover basics of flight, general handling, take-off/landing actions, and related.
1,874 lb (850 kg)
3,527 lb (1,600 kg)
+1,653 lb (+750 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base VR-Technologies VRT500 production variant)
1 x Pratt & Whitney PW207V gas turbine of unknown output power driving 2 x Three-bladed main rotors in co-axial arrangement.
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