Mi-8AMTSh-VN helicopters to be armed with new onboard defense

Russian Commando helicopters will get universal protection. The onboard defense of Mi-8AMTSh-VN will protect against missiles, grenade launchers and firearms. It will detect radars and adversary air defense. The complex will be able to set smokescreens to cover airborne assault and evacuate soldiers. Experts believe the equipment is necessary for other helicopters to decrease losses from manpad fire, the Izvestia daily writes.

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Mi 8AMTSh VN helicopters to be armed with new onboard defense Mi-8AMTSh-VN (Picture source: Air Recognition)

Defense industry sources said the decision in principle to arm Mi-8AMTSh-VN with new onboard defense had been made. Besides protecting from manpads and detecting adversary radars, it will immediately set up aerosol smokescreens to cover assault embarkation and disembarkation. The technical assignment for the new system has been approved and the design is ongoing. Mi8-8AMTSH-VN have to deliver, evacuate and provide fire support to commandos.

The complex is created on the basis of Bitebsk BKO and is designated as L370V8VN according to the technical assignment obtained by the publication. It can detect launches of missiles with infrared and heat homing warheads and deviate them from the course by disturbances and dummy targets. The system can also detect adversary radars, their types and operational regime, and the direction of emission.

Special 50mm aerosol cartridges are designed for smokescreens. They are already used by ground armor. The advantages include rapid setting of a smokescreen to protect against heat imagers.

The upgraded self-defense system is vital for other helicopters in a combat zone, former Commander of the 4th air force and defense army Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko said. It will considerably decrease losses of helicopters.

“If the equipment proves effective, it may be installed not only on Mi-8AMTSH. Manpad fire was a major problem for helicopters in Afghanistan and in other conflicts. Losses were sustained mostly because of delayed detection of missile launch. The stocks of heat and infrared traps is limited and they cannot be fired along the whole route. They are usually fired over the target, while a helicopter can be attacked in any place. Now the pilots will be warned of an attack on time and will maneuver to escape an air defense strike,” he said.

The technical concept of Mi-8AMTSh-VN took into consideration many requirements of commandos. The construction of two prototypes is ongoing and trials are scheduled in autumn.

Two new options of transport Mi-8AMTSh are created for commandos. They will carry them and support with fire. The Mil enterprise began the design in 2017. The defense minister and Russian Helicopters CEO approved the technical assignment in July 2018.

In contrast to ordinary transport helicopters, the rotorcraft will have armored cockpit and main mechanisms. They will provide light protection from firearms to commando compartment. Mi-8AMTSh-VN will have more powerful arms. One of the options will carry unguided weapons. Another option will provide fire support with guided long-range missiles. Besides supersonic Ataka missiles, a Mi-8 modification will be able to engage prospective product 305 with a range of 15-20 km. Both options will be armed with a set of suspended machineguns, air guns and bombs.

The helicopters will have an optical-electronic GOES-321ML viewing system with a heat imaging channel. At present it is installed on Mi-35M gunships. The shooter will operate OPS-24N-1L sight with a laser guider for missiles, the Izvestia said.

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