Experienced Mi-8AMTSh-VN. Photo "Russian Helicopters"
After several years of waiting, the Russian Helicopters holding began ground and flight tests of the promising Mi-8AMTSh-VN attack transport helicopter. In the near future, the experienced equipment will pass all the necessary checks and enter service in the armed forces. Helicopters of the new type will be able to provide a wide range of operations.
Way to heaven
The attack transport helicopter Mi-8AMTSh-VN or Mi-171Sh-VN (code "Sapsan") was developed by the Mil company on an initiative basis on the basis of the Mi-8AMTSh-V machine, also known as the "Terminator". Subsequently, the project received the approval and support of the military department. An experienced helicopter of this type was first shown three years ago at the MAKS-2017 exhibition.
Subsequently, this machine was demonstrated several times at other specialized events; in parallel, the improvement of the project continued. The developers revealed the main features and advantages of the helicopter, and in addition, they mentioned that flight tests would begin in the coming years.
At last year's Army-2019 forum, the Ministry of Defense and Russian Helicopters signed the first contract for the supply of Mi-8AMTSh-VN. It provides for the construction and transfer of ten helicopters in 2020-21. The construction of equipment was entrusted to the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (UUAZ). Then it became known about the plans to begin flight tests before the end of the year, but later they were postponed.
Updated nose of the helicopter. An additional optoelectronic unit is noticeable (left). Photo Airwar.ru
On July 22, Russian Helicopters announced the start of complex tests. An experienced helicopter, built at UUAZ and modified by the Mil and Kamov National Center for Helicopter Engineering, has been tested on the ground and has already taken off. The tests were started by the NCV, and then the car will be transferred to the jurisdiction of specialized institutes and centers.
The first phase of testing with the existing prototype will last until November. Then a new stage will begin, which will involve two more helicopters. During these events, three Mi-8AMTSh-VN will have to confirm the calculated flight, maneuverable, combat and operational characteristics.
Complex of improvements
The promising Mi-8AMTSh-VN is a new development variant of the Mi-8AMTSh serial helicopter. In the new project, measures have been taken to improve all the main characteristics and combat qualities. Replaced part of the units, incl. key, and also introduced some new systems. The result was a helicopter capable of transporting people and cargo, as well as employing a wide range of air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.
The Mi-8AMTSh-VN helicopter uses a pair of VK-2500-03 turboshaft engines connected to an upgraded transmission. The main rotor has been redesigned and received new composite blades. The tail rotor is now X-shaped for improved performance. The increase in thrust-to-weight ratio and characteristics of the carrier system made it possible to increase the carrying capacity and maximum flight speed. Altitude performance has also improved.
The variant of the combat load is a machine gun, an aerial bomb, unguided missiles and ATGM. Photo Airwar.ru
The new complex of flight and navigation equipment includes a combination of analog instruments and a "glass cockpit". There is a digital autopilot. In addition to the existing optoelectronic unit under the nose of the fuselage, an aiming and survey system was introduced. A new radar with improved characteristics is being created.
For flights in the dark, the use of night vision devices is provided. Some of the navigation, aerobatic and combat missions can be performed automatically or with minimal human participation. One of the main objectives of the project as a whole was to reduce the workload on the crew.
Various measures are envisaged to improve survivability. The Mi-8AMTSh-VN is equipped with the LSZ-8VN airborne defense system - it automatically detects missile launches and uses false thermal targets. The cockpit and vital components are covered with titanium armor parts. Lightweight Kevlar bulletproof protection is installed inside the cargo-passenger cabin.
The helicopter is capable of carrying various weapons for work on air or ground targets. On the external sling, two 12,7-mm course machine guns, cannon containers or unguided rockets are stationary; the use of unguided bombs is possible. The sighting and sighting system is integrated into a guided weapon system that allows the use of Ataka anti-tank missiles.
Combat load - 1400 kg on six hardpoints. Depending on the tasks and the chosen weaponsThe Mi-8AMTSh-VN is capable of fighting ground-based structures, armored vehicles and even other helicopters.
Serial army Mi-8AMTSh-V. Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
The possibility of using personal airborne weapons is provided. For this, in the doors and windows, installations are provided for machine guns or machine guns. At exhibitions, an experienced helicopter was shown with a large-caliber machine gun in the doorway.
The main task of the Mi-8AMTSh-VN will be the delivery of troops, incl. special forces to the place of the combat mission. The disembarkation can be carried out both by the landing method and with the help of ropes through the side doors and the tail ramp. At the same time, the machine is capable of providing fire support and attacking the enemy with all available means.
The Mi-8AMTSh-VN project once again demonstrates the highest modernization potential of the base platform. Updating or replacing some systems, as well as the introduction of other components, can improve tactical and technical characteristics and gain new capabilities.
According to Russian Helicopters, the ways of developing the existing platform and the required innovations were determined taking into account the experience of recent conflicts. Helicopters of the Mi-8 family are widely used in various theaters of military operations, and do not always fully meet specific requirements. Due to a number of innovations, the Mi-8AMTSh-VN meets the expected tasks and conditions.
The resulting helicopter can fly faster and higher, as well as take on more cargo. At the same time, he is able to work at any time of the day, better protects the crew and troops, and also carries more advanced weapons. The advantages over existing helicopters of a similar class are obvious.
The promising Mi-8AMTSh-VN is not the first strike-transport representative of its family. A few years ago, the serial production of the Mi-8AMTSh machines in "normal" and arctic design was started. The troops have mastered this technique well and are quite active in exploiting it.
Arctic helicopter Mi-8AMTSH-VA. Photo "Russian Helicopters"
According to open sources, to date, the Russian army has received at least 60 Mi-8AMTSh and Mi-8AMTSh-V helicopters. The number of arctic Mi-8AMTSh-VA has not yet exceeded ten. The production of such equipment continues, and in the near future its number in combat units will increase. It was previously mentioned that the armed forces represented by the Aerospace Forces and aviation The Navy needs at least a hundred of these helicopters.
The production of a new modification of the Mi-8AMTSh-VN is underway right now. The first helicopter of this type has entered trials, and two more will join it this fall. The ongoing contract provides for the delivery of 10 vehicles by the end of next year. Probably, the production of new helicopters will not stop there. It has not yet been reported whether the Mi-8AMTSh-VN will replace the equipment of the previous models in production.
Thus, according to the results of current tests, the Russian army will receive new attack transport helicopters with wide capabilities, which will have to supplement the existing fleet of similar equipment of previous models. A high degree of unification, as well as different designs and different capabilities will make such a helicopter fleet a convenient and flexible tool for a wide range of tasks. However, before that, it is necessary to complete the tests of the experienced Mi-8AMTSh-VN, which have just begun.