UAE's Tawazun Bolsters VRT500 Helicopter Program

 - November 15, 2021, 11:46 AM

VR Technologies, the developer of the Russian coaxial VRT500 light turbine single helicopter, has been 50 percent share acquired by the UAE’s Tawazun Economic Council, which also signed a letter of intent to purchase 100 of the aircraft collectively valued at $248 million. Tawazun is the UAE defense and security acquisitions authority for the UAE Armed Forces and Abu Dhabi Police.

This move is part of a coordinated campaign to ease Western certification of the aircraft and thus widen its commercial appeal. The first part of that strategy emerged last year when VR acquired Italy-based Vertex Aero from the Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG). Vertex holds EASA design organization approval.

Under the new ownership structure, VR will now be owned by Singapore-based Aeroter, along with Tawazan and another undisclosed entity as joint owners. VR had previously been wholly-owned by Russian Helicopters. As part of its ownership of VR, Tawazun committed $400 million of fresh investment to the enterprise.  Currently, EASA certification of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207V-powered VRT500 is expected in 2024. First certification test flights are expected next year. 

Separately, Aeroter announced an exclusive five-year agreement with Savback Helicopters AB of Sweden to distribute and sell the VRT500 in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland.