Innovation – a fundamental part of our strategy

One of Russian Helicopters’ key strategy documents, our Strategy for Developing an Integrated Russian Helicopter Manufacturing Structure through the Year 2020, defines the company’s development goal: Russian Helicopters should become a highly competitive research and production company – an effective supplier of helicopters for the needs of government structures as well as a competitive manufacturer of helicopters for the global commercial market.

Effective development of Russian Helicopters’ innovation incubation system is one of the most important preconditions for ensuring the long-term competitiveness of Russian-made helicopters. For our company, innovation comprises a set of interconnected R&D processes and mechanisms. The chief objective is to provide for the effective traversal and completion of the innovation cycle for the creation of helicopters – from the emergence of an idea to the receipt of profit.

Innovation development programme

The rationale behind the creation of the innovation system is described in our Programme for Innovation Development, which was approved by the board of Russian Helicopters in March 2011.

The Programme for Innovation Development entails a system of research and development activities, technological and manufacturing programmes, as well institutional measures and engineering work. All of the various aspects of this system are coordinated according to objectives, resources and timing, and they contribute to the overriding goal of creating a competitive Russian helicopter industry.

In 2012 the Programme for Innovation Development was adapted in light of new requirements of the Russian government and also in consideration of the results achieved through the programme in 2011 and 2012. The revised Programme for Innovation Development was approved by the board of Russian Helicopters in December 2012.

Main programme components – innovative projects

R&D for advanced, innovative helicopters

The most significant R&D projects of Russian Helicopters are the following:

  • The development of advanced high-speed helicopters;
  • The Unmanned Systems programme.

The advanced high-speed helicopter programme is truly a revolutionary project which entails the development and assimilation of innovative design and technology solutions, including the creation of technological innovations which will subsequently be put to use across the entire model line of Russian Helicopters. The advanced high-speed helicopter programme is intended to meet the market’s needs in the period after 2020 and to increase the share of science-intensive and innovative products in the company’s portfolio. The concept of the advanced high-speed helicopter was first presented to the public at the Farnborough Airshow in England with the unveiling of the programme’s first project – the Russian Advanced Commercial Helicopter (RACHEL).

The Unmanned Systems programme is focused on the creation of competitive unmanned rotorcraft for civil and military use across medium and long ranges.

R&D for pioneering innovations in helicopter-manufacturing technologies

Russian Helicopters has developed and implemented a comprehensive helicopter technologies development programme called Vertical. This integrated programme serves as a corporate technological platform and involves research in the following key areas to produce competitive helicopter technology:

  • EvoGREEN (eco-friendly helicopters);
  • EvoLOCITY (advanced high-speed helicopters);
  • EvoSAFE (safe helicopters);
  • EvoSMART (smart helicopters);
  • EvoLOGY (development of advanced technologies).

The results of the Vertical programme will form the scientific and technological foundation for new advanced helicopters and modernization of the company’s existing models now in production.

Modernization and technical upgrades at production facilities

Today Russian Helicopters is making a concerted effort to establish a highly effective production platform through restructuring and technical upgrades of existing production capacity at all of the company’s facilities. This process entails their optimal concentration according to technical processes and specialization of facilities by product life-cycle stage, as well as the formation of production clusters.

The implementation of projects under this programme has made it possible to rebuild existing and create new modern specialised production facilities, optimise the size of production sites and provide for the transition to new production technologies. As a result, we have lowered the cost of production and improved the quality of the end product, while reducing the time it takes to move a helicopter model through the development stage as well as aircraft production time.

Formation of infrastructure for innovation

One of the most important milestones in the formation of innovation incubation infrastructure at Russian Helicopters was the creation of the National Helicopter Building Centre in the Moscow region town of Tomilino. The company’s entire science and technology complex has been concentrated at the National Helicopter Building Centre, including its R&D, drafting and design, information and computation, experimentation and flight testing facilities.

The main purpose of National Helicopter Building Centre is to consolidate and invigorate the research, experimentation and engineering potential of the company in order to raise the innovative productivity of its helicopter design and development division and shortening the time and lowering the cost of developing new models. These efforts help ensure the competitiveness of Russian helicopter manufacturing today and in the future.

Key elements of the innovation programme

The Programme for Innovation Development seeks to achieve the following:

  • Greater energy efficiency in production and higher labour productivity
  • Creation of a quality management system
  • Improvement of aftersales service
  • Better management of intellectual property rights
  • Expansion of international engagement and cooperation

The formation and development of specialised technological platforms for engagement of external centres of innovation– institutions of higher education, state research centres, divisions of the Russian Academy of Sciences, sector-related institutes, R&D enterprises of the Ministry of Defence, the Union of Aviation Industrialists, helicopter component and system developers, and others.

One of the important aspects of Russian Helicopters innovation efforts is outreach to institutions of higher education. The main objectives of this outreach are:

  • Increasing the number of universities which provide intellectual support to the company;
  • Expanding the scope and improving the content of university programs on helicopter manufacturing;
  • Education and retraining opportunities for personnel responsible for technological development;
  • Targeted education programs focused on helicopter-related professions;
  • Participation of employees of Russian Helicopters in the education process;
  • Student internships and cooperation opportunities for university staff at the company’s enterprises;
  • Joint R&D projects with universities.

Russian Helicopters’ innovation development programme is designed to promote the effective development Russian helicopter manufacturing through the year 2020. The company is increasing the share of Russian-made helicopters on the global market by ensuring product competitiveness and increasing production volumes. Innovations will help maintain the high technical quality of Russian-made helicopters and reduce the timeframe for the introduction of new models to 5-7 years by 2020. The share of innovative products in the total volume of products sold could reach 60%. Russian Helicopters expects that it will succeed in satisfying the demand in Russia for modern military and civil high-performance helicopters. The modernization of the Russian helicopter industry will result in the emergence of a highly profitable and competitive company with great potential for development.

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