Helicopter and aircraft markets are not independent and Russian Helicopters would be smart offiering this helicopter (Mi-46 designation?) for the Russian market and even for the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The precedent for helicopters of this size the Mi-6/10/22 was a success.
its an old article. We already have June
June just begins, I have little doubt that this contract will be signed, not problem with it.
The most interesting part at this point is the option that Russia has completing the range of helicopters that the custormers are demanding, and specially those that can be of military interest. From bigger to smaller Russian Helicopters have now:
Ka-27 family + Mi-8 family
Small helicopters under 2 tons of Maximum Take-Off Weight that are only of civil interest.
Of them all are new except two cathegories:
Ka-27 family + Mi-8 family: With the Ka-40 Minoga in development, that is likely to be compatible for sea and land based platforms.
The new AHL is a safe bet, is created at request of the custormers, in this case at request of China, with more than enough potential orders before to begin. The success is assured, and would not make sense to offer not it to Russian customers, including the Russian Ministry of Defense, with a Russian engine.
Russian helicopters has been reluctant to offer it to Russian markets, but likely they will realize that with the Mi-26 on the market and the Mi-38 comming an important customer prefered the development of a new helicopter just in the middle of both, because the new helicopter fits better their needs. China is not a rare case, this can be also the case of many other customers, including in Russia, and to complete the local offer with the new helicopter can close the door to foreign helicopters of this size, and can take a good part of the market for aircrafts of this size.
The new Mi-46(?)/AHL is just of the size of the An-72/71/74 and the An-148/158/178. The new helicopter is coming just in the moment when the production of the An-148 is being stopped in Russia. Russian Helicopters can fight to take orders of aircrafts of this size with this new helicopter, like the new Mi-38 can also fight to take the orders in the size cathegory of the An-24/26/30/32, the An-140 and the new Il-112.
To note that with the success assured, the development of a Russian engine for this helicopter, if necessary, would not hurt the business, being instead an opportunity of increasing the profit for Russian aircraft engine companies. The Mi-6/10/22, previous helicopter of the same size cathegory, had Russian made engines.
Also, there is a plan of another new helicopter of this size, the Ka-102, that will also require Russian engines. This future helicopter will include the new high speed technologies, it means that likely will require long testing period. To offer this new Mi-46(?)/AHL helicopter to Russian and foreign custormers can help to a even more careful development of the Ka-102, as a gap closer. There is a demand of the customers, of which the Chinese demand is only one example, and not a rare one. Surely one of them, the Mi-46(?)/AHL or the Ka-102, is required in the markets before the end of 2025.
The customers that need an aircraft/herlicopter with 10-15 tons of payload will not buy a Mi-38, because it does not fit the needs. And also can leave the option of a Mi-26 of 20 tons of payload because of being too big and more expensive. Russian helicopters should not fear that this helicopter damages the prospect of the Mi-26. If this would be the case, it would mean that the Mi-26 would be oversized for the needs of the customers, but I do not think this is right. The Mi-26 would keep still its own niche for customers that need to deal with bigger loads, and likely the development of a new successor of the Mi-26 will be required soon. Likely the competence for the Mi-26 will be more in the aircrafts of the same size than in this new helicopter.