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Russia to upgrade Mi-35M helicopters to Mi-35MV level


The Russian armed forces are launching a large-scale program to upgrade Mi-35M helicopters to Mi-35MV level. They will get new armor, engines and optics to identify and destroy targets at a distance of several kilometers day and night and in any weather. The craft will also get electronic warfare and protection from portable air defense missiles. The upgrade was launched after an analysis of Mi-35M experience in Syria, the Izvestia daily writes.


Russia to upgrade Mi 35M helicopters to Mi 35MV level Russian Mi-35M helicopter (Picture source: Air Recognition)


Sources in the Defense Ministry told the newspaper a decision to upgrade Mi-35M had been adopted in principle. The technical assignment is being drafted for the designers. The upgrade has to radically increase combat effectiveness of the helicopters.

Mi-35M was created in mid-2000s and the Defense Ministry began to procure them after the war with Georgia. The army needed modern helicopter gunships, as the industry was not yet producing new-generation Mi-28N and Ka-52.

Before the Syrian operation, it was planned to gradually decommission Mi-35M. However, the combat experience showed that the helicopter remains one of the best among the Russian rotorcraft and it would be inappropriate to reject it.

The upgraded Mi-35MV will get OPS-24N1 sight, President-S defense from antiaircraft missiles, and a new radar. It will also have new engines and armor. The equipment will develop the rotorcraft into a new flying air assault vehicle.

OPS-24N1 will provide a round view for the pilots. It comprises four stabilized optical-electronic stations. Two are mounted on the wing, one on the back rotor beam, and another one in the front part of the helicopter. The images are transmitted to the cockpit panel.

The equipment detects and identifies targets at a distance of several kilometers in any weather and time of the day, as well as in heavy smoke which is typical of a battlefield. The short-wave infrared camera with a receiving photo module transforms ultrashort waves which are invisible to the human eye.

President-S complex protects the craft from guided air defense missiles and air-to-air missiles equipped with radar-guided and infrared homing warheads. It will report radar or laser irradiation to the crew in real time and activate optical-electronic disturbances and heat traps, if necessary.

The helicopter is armed with double-barrel 23mm GSh-23L artillery gun, unguided missiles and antitank guided Shturm missiles. It can also deliver seven soldiers to the battlefield.

Multirole helicopter gunships are necessary to provide fire support to the ground forces on the battlefield, as well as for special and search missions, expert Anton Lavrov said.

"It became clear in Syria that survivability and effectiveness of the helicopter depends on how far the pilots can see. There is yet another trend, as the helicopters are frequently used in the dark. They also have to operate in bad weather. Therefore, the upgrade has to make helicopters operational in any conditions," he said.

The helicopters can be airlifted thousands of kilometers by Il-76 aircraft. It takes a day to assemble them for combat engagement, the Izvestia said.


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