The two nations signed a memorandum on building a 250-300-seat plane to rival Airbus and Boeing during President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Beijing in 2014.
A similar agreement between Russian Helicopters and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) was signed in May.
Sergei Popov, chief designer of the heavy helicopters department at the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, told Sputnik that this joint venture involves the creation of a brand new helicopter instead of merely upgrading an already existing Russian design.
"This is going to be a brand new helicopter specifically tailored for the Chinese market and designed to perform in a variety of roles – transportation, evacuation, firefighting… The helicopter’s take-off weight may vary from 38.4 tonnes to 40.9 tonnes depending on the nature of the assignment. Its payload is estimated at 10 to 15 tonnes. The maximum range of the new helicopter will be about 630 kilometers; maximum speed – 300 kilometers per hour; service ceiling – 5,700 meters. The helicopter will be able to operate both during the day and at night and in any weather conditions," Popov said.
He also added that the project is 100 percent funded by the Chinese side, while their Russian colleagues will develop the helicopter’s design according to the Chinese contractor’s specifications.
The new helicopter is expected to make its first flight in 2020, and by 2024 it is supposed to be fully certified. The helicopter will likely be manufactured at an aircraft factory in Tianjin; the demand for it is currently being estimated at about 200 units.