Russia: Mi-28NM helicopters to be armed with new weapons

President Vladimir Putin said in May at a meeting on defense industry in Sochi that it was necessary to supply a hundred Mi-28NM helicopter gunships by 2028. The Army Standard writes how Mi-28NM is distinguished from predecessors and which upgrades are in store.

Russia Mi 28NM helicopters to be armed with new weapons Mi-28N (Picture source: Dmitry Serebryakov)

Putin said "the army aviation has to be rapidly armed with onboard defense systems with improved characteristics and weapons with increased range, and a hundred upgraded Mi-28NM shall be supplied to the troops."

The choice of the helicopter is not accidental. Mi-28NM is the most technologically advanced rotorcraft with a big upgrade potential. Its predecessor Mi-28N fought in Syria. One helicopter crashed near Homs, but the Defense Ministry said it was not downed.

Mi-28NE export option was engaged by the Iraqi army to free residential settlements from terrorists and performed properly. However, combat operations in Syria exposed some drawbacks. It became clear that helicopter defense and arms need an upgrade.

"The helicopter has been upgraded according to the Syrian experience and meets all the requirements of the Defense Ministry. With all respect to Mi-24 and Mi-35, Mi-28NM is the most advanced helicopter adapted to modern general combat. Mi-28NM can be engaged in the dark and bad weather," expert Alexey Leonkov said.

Mi-28NM began flight trials in October 2016 at the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. The first OP-1 prototype took off.

Mi-28NM differs from predecessors by a change in the front part. The cockpit canopy is not that visible, but the view for the pilot was expanded. The scheme checked on Mi-28UB training helicopter was borrowed. The second set of controls was installed in the front part of the cockpit. It helps train the crew and increases survivability in real combat.

Cockpit equipment was also changed. Pilots receive more information about the surrounding situation and operation of all units. The cockpit armor has been reinforced to protect against 20mm bullets and shells. New design and modern materials increased the resistance to damage. Thus, composite materials of the lifting rotor blades sustain a hit of 30mm shells without fatal destruction. The craft keeps the chance to safely land. The fuel system has been upgraded to rule out fire or fuel explosion.

The onboard computer operation has been accelerated dozens of times. The main radar antenna was moved from the front to the lifting rotor and is covered by a spherical cowl. The crew can effectively engage precision weapons, including missiles with radar homing. The controls allow the crew to land in any weather and time of the day.

The defense capability of the helicopter has increased. "The President-S complex for helicopters was demonstrated as protection from all antiaircraft weapons, mostly manpads which are the main threat to such craft. Tests confirmed President-S effectiveness against single missiles and if the attack comes from various directions," Leonkov said.

Mi-28NM equipment allows including a helicopter or a group of them into various combat forces. The automatic controls have been mated, the Army Standard said.

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