Turkish defence electronics supplier Aselsan is reportedly aiming to secure a massive portion of the legacy Mil Mi-17/171 transport helicopter upgrade market.
As per Defense News, Aselsan identified a potential market of up to 10,000 helicopters, and has made the push for upgrading them its “most important next goal.”
Aselsan has the ability to provide a comprehensive electronics upgrade, one comprising of a glass cockpit with multi-function displays (e.g. Aselsan MFD-268E), inertial navigation system (e.g. Ln-260), new mission computers (e.g. ACCC), digital moving map display (e.g. DMAP) and new VHF/UHF/HF radios.
Notes & Comments:
An upgrade of this nature would both modernize and expand the capability-set of an Mi-17, which today has a reputation for its durability and reliability more so than sophisticated technology. This was by design – the Mi-17 was built to be affordable.
If Aselsan can provide a modular and cost-competitive upgrade path, it could potentially make in-roads in this market. The subsystems apparently on offer provide improvements in pilot workload and mission capabilities (e.g. improved navigation). Aselsan could potentially consider a deeper upgrade path involving self-protection suites for defensibility against anti-air warfare threats.
Defense News noted that emphasis may be seen in Central Asia and the Arab Gulf Peninsula. However, one can conceivably see Pakistan as a potential key market as well considering it operates many Mi-17s (50+ as per Flight Global) and is already a buyer of Aselsan equipment (e.g. the ASELPOD for the JF-17 and ARES-2SC/NS for the Agosta 90B).
In 2015, Pakistan was reportedly pushing for a complete maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for the Mi-17 and Mi-35. It is not known where these efforts stand, but since the Mi-17 is the backbone of the Pakistan Army Aviation Corps’ transport fleet, it may still be a goal. Considering that transfer-of-technology and local production are aspects of Aselsan’s export strategy, it would be interesting if Pakistan could secure an end-to-end Mi-17/171 overhaul and upgrade capability.
Interesting. Has Pakistan looked at the Paramount Group option for the MI-17? Details here: http://www.paramountgroup.com/media/1321/paramount-super-17.pdf
And then of course there’s the Super Hind, which Paramount upgrades from run-of-the-mill M1-24 to something just above MI-35M. Which is what Algeria did whilst awaiting their MI-28s.
I think Pakistan should and does look at all these various vendors when it comes to upgrading these helicopters. The Mi-17/171 chopppers are quite common and simple to upgrade and overhaul that you are not tied to the Russians to do that work anymore. The Super Hind just looks like an evil beast I’m surprised no countries have taken up the option of upgrading their Hinds through Paramount.