Mi-38 helicopter to be developed into air command post

The latest Mi-38 helicopter will be developed into an air command post. It will be protected by the upgraded Vitebsk onboard defense complex. It detects a projectile launch or radar operation and provides jamming, fires heat traps and blinds missiles with a laser, the Izvestia daily writes.

Mi 38 helicopter to be developed into air command post 02 Mi-38 helicopter (Picture source: Russian Helicopters)

Sources in the defense industry said the Mi-38 command post has to be ready in the spring of 2021. The helicopter will receive and process combat information in real time and coordinate various troops of the district or an inter-arm force. The command post will have the latest automatic command system.

Mi-38 command post will carry Vitebsk L370V38S onboard defense complex. It will be an upgrade of the option used by Mi-35M. It protects helicopters from antiaircraft missiles. EW equipment tests are to be completed and the first three sets for experimental helicopters are to be delivered in early 2021. The cost exceeds 430 million rubles.

Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko said in May 2019 that Mi-38 options would be designed for responsible missions. The helicopter-based command post will be similar to Il-80 and Il-82 aircraft which have to control the troops in a nuclear war.

All technologically developed armies work to protect the air command posts to the maximum, former Commander of the 4th air force and defense army, Hero of Russia Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko said.

“The air post carries top commanders who control combat activities from it. The adversary hunts such targets, as the loss of command usually triggers a defeat. New protection means are a vital necessity. Specific attention is paid to the fight against aircraft missiles, including man portable ones which are specifically dangerous for helicopters. All modern air command posts have to have such protection,” he said.

“The Russian military have automatic ground and air command posts of the army and strategic level. However, modern combat shows their number and quality have to be increased,” expert Vladislav Shurygin said.

Ground command posts receive and process combat information on friendly and adversary troops in real time. They gather data on subordinated units. The commander sees in real time the state of vehicles, the presence of munitions and other materiel even in small units.

The command posts use high-speed communication channels to maintain contact with the National Defense Command Center, other headquarters and receive information on the air, ground and sea situation.

Russia has several strategic air command posts. They are Il-80 (on Il-86 basis) and Il-82 (on Il-76 airlifter basis). They are equipped with powerful communications, including satellite, and automatic control system to control the troops and the country in a conventional and nuclear war.

In 2018, the Defense Ministry began to upgrade five Il-22 aircraft. They will be developed into multirole air command posts. In case of a war, they will coordinate units of a military district or a front. New-generation air command posts are developed on the basis of Il-96-400 aircraft.

The Defense Ministry decided to procure Mi-38 combat-transportation helicopters in July 2017. A contract was signed with Russian Helicopters for two prototypes for test operations. In late December 2019, the holding reported a successful completion of factory trials and the handover of the rotorcraft to the customer, the Izvestia said.

Mi 38 helicopter to be developed into air command post Mi-38 helicopter (Picture source: Russian Helicopters)

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