i think a primary problem for light Russian helos has been the fact that it has been an area largely ignored by Mil and Kamov.
I think the Ka-225 is brilliant, and there are designs by Irkut like the Aktai and Ansat that look like world class modern designs.
I think the main problem is delivery time.
It appears to me from the articles posted that they have chosen these French helos as mature designs that are ready to get rapidly into production.
With the joint venture they will end up with 100 odd French helos along with production facilities to build their own helo designs.
The main problem I see is that they are investing in French helicopters from the 1970s when they should be investing in new Russian designs.
The ANSAT is probably in a slightly heavier weight class, and the Aktai is probably a bit light.
Looking at this article:
Mi-34C1 snags first orders
Mi-34C1The key current light helicopter programme being pursued by the Russian Helicopters holding company is the resumed production of the heavily upgraded Mil Mi-34C1 by the Progress aircraft company in the town of Arsenyev. New helicopter features the advanced M9FV piston engine, an up-to-date avionics suite and a number of design and systems improvements aimed at enhancing the operating efficiency and reliability as well as extending the service life of the aircraft. This, coupled with a reasonable price, is going to help the Mi-34C1 to get a good niche on the market.
Russian Helicopters Mi-34C1 programme manager Dmitry Rodin told Take-off that Mil Helicopter Plant now completing two Mi-34C1 prototypes. One of them, the OP-1, is slated for the maiden flight in June to be followed by the other, the OP-2. Both Mi-34C1 prototypes will be displayed during the MAKS 2011 air show in August, one to be demonstrated as part of the flight programme and the other as a static display. The Mi-34C1 is to complete its certification programme by year-end.
On 19 May, during the HeliRussia 2011, the Russian Helicopters holding company landed its first order for the advanced machine after the launch customer UTair had placed an order for ten Mi-34C1 helicopters for its training centre. The deliveries are slated to kick off in 2012. In addition, the show saw an agreement signed by the French company Aero Progress, the latter intent on promoting the Mi-34C1 on the European market. The signatories believe the helicopter can be needed in the West, since it features a number of advantages over the popular Eurocopter EC120. The first two Mi-34C1s are planned for delivery to the French company in 2013.
I suspect it might be a reciprocal agreement where Russia buys these two French helos and France helps market Mi-34Cs for the lighter helicopter market in Europe.
As long as the French helos are made in Russia in a factory Russia gets to keep then I think this could be good for both parties.
Certainly when compared with other areas of the Russian MIC the Russian helicopter industry actually appears to be relatively healthy and will likely deliver over 500 helicopters to the Russian military alone by 2020, and exports in some weight classes is very good.
New Helos like the Mi-34C and the Berkut offer potential in the light and very light helicopter market with very competitive prices.