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Rotorcraft Asia 2019: Ka-32 standing ground in China

27th March 2019 - 13:50 GMT | by Alexander Mladenov in Sofia

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Russian Helicopters continues to see China as the most promising market for the KA-32 type in the near-to-mid-term. Its marketing estimate made in 2015 called for up to 70 Ka-32A11BC that could be sold out to Chinese customers in the medium term, mainly for fire-fighting, especially in urban conditions.

China remains the biggest export market for the Russian-made Ka-32 co-axial utility helicopter. As many as nine were delivered in 2017 and 2018 in the Asia-Pacific region, with the vast majority of these going to Chinese customers, to be used for fire-fighting and EMS duties.

The Ka-32A11BC is well-known as a stable helicopter when operated in highly turbulent air and densely built-up areas thanks to its co-axial rotor scheme; its effectiveness to deal with blazes is being multiplied by the far-reaching water cannon enabling the helicopter to do the job while hovering at a safe distance from a serviced high-rise building.

The parapublic market in the country opened up in 2008, when the 11t Ka-32A11BC was certified by the Chinese civil aviation authorities, and the first example was delivered to the Chinese State Oceanic Administration for Antarctic research support operations in July 2009.

Then, Ordos City in Inner Mongolia took one helicopter ordered for fire-fighting in 2011; it was followed not after long by a raft of orders from other para-public agencies in China. By late 2015, operators in China are reported to have received a total of 11 helicopters.

In January 2017, Russian Helicopters reported delivery of two Ka-32A11BCs to Jiangsu Baoli Aviation Equipment to be used for EMS, cargo transport, for working on large buildings and logging, with another following suit later on in the year.

In December the same year, another delivery to China was reported, this time to the fire service of the Department of Public Safety, Qingdao. In 2018 two more machines followed – this time delivered to China’s United Helicopters.

In this rather demanding role, the Ka-32A11BC, equipped with a Simplex 5t air attack system - provided with a horizontal water cannon with a range of 131ft (40m) when working with foam - can be effectively used to suppress fires in high-rise buildings.

In August 2017, Russian helicopter sources told the press that a civil customer from Thailand has also placed an order for a Ka-32A11BC, but there is no information about the completion of its delivery.   

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