Berkuty demo team plans to switch to Mi-28NM helicopter

Pilots of Russia’s sole aerobatics group Berkuty (Golden Eagles) flying combat helicopters expect a delivery to troops of new Mi-28NMs for demonstrating the upgraded machine’s capabilities. This has been revealed by lieutenant-colonel Alexander Voronov, head of the investigative department of air contingencies and prevention of the 344th center of the army aviation.

Berkuty demo team plans to switch to Mi 28NM helicopter 001 The Russian Helicopters Mi-28NM attack helicopter showcased at Army-2018 defense exhibition
(Credit: Russian Helicopters)

"The group Berkuty had been initially formed using Mi-24 helicopters. Over time, as Mi-28 helicopters were phased in, we gradually passed on to flying them. Once we receive Mi-28NMs, we’ll start operating those machines," the pilot said.

According to him, in their demonstrations the Berkuty pilots seek to show capabilities of Russian helicopters. "It’s not that we are all-purpose pilots. We are just able to fly both Mi-24, Mi-25, their different versions and Mi-28 helicopters. We want to show the progress of the Russian arms, particularly in helicopter engineering, which is why we’ve passed on to the Mi-28," Voronov said.

The special feature of the Berkuty aerobatic group is that unlike other aerobatics groups of the world flying light helicopters, it performs aerobatic stunts using heavy in-service attack machines. "This implies other flying characteristics that modify the piloting to a certain extent. Here one should maintain the formation’s parameters, and show the beauty of the flight in  which the helicopters ought to remain in the air as if in a rigid linkage. That’s what we strive to achieve," Voronov added.

The creation of the Mi-28NM began in 2009. The upgraded version essentially differs from its prototype. The Mi-28NM onboard radar suite will include an innovative helmet-mounted target designation and indication system. The helicopter has a new N025 radar unit enabling an all-round surveillance. Also, it is fitted with a new electronic warfare system. The machine is designed for search and destruction, by day and night in all weathers, of low speed aerial targets, tanks, armored and unarmored equipment as well as the enemy manpower.

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