More than two months are left before the international aerospace show MAKS-2021, and the first reports about future exhibits are already coming. Thus, Rostec and Russian Helicopters announced the demonstration of the latest Mi-28NM attack helicopter. It is expected that during the show this machine will attract the attention of foreign armies, which will be facilitated by a number of innovations and high tactical and technical characteristics.
Helicopter at the exhibition
The future show of the newest domestic helicopter was announced on May 18. According to press releases from Russian Helicopters and Rostec, the Mi-28NM will take part in the exhibition's flight program. The machine will perform an independent demonstration flight with elements of complex aerobatics simulating a real battle. Also, the helicopter is used in a group flight of domestic rotorcraft.
The press release quotes the words of Andrey Boginsky, CEO of Russian Helicopters. He noted that the Mi-28NM will take part in MAKS-2021 in a new status of a serial machine for itself. In addition, the head of the holding expects that visitors to the salon will appreciate the upgraded helicopter.
Demonstration at the international salon is not least connected with the search for foreign customers. This topic was revealed by the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, who is quoted in the press release. He pointed out that the developments in the NM project will be used in the export version of the Mi-28. Both traditional customers of our equipment and new countries show high interest in such a helicopter.
The Mi-28NM project provides for a deep modernization of the existing Mi-28N attack helicopter with the replacement of various units and systems, as well as the introduction of new types of weapons. All these measures made it possible to improve the technical and combat characteristics, as well as to increase the flexibility of combat use.
During the modernization, the airframe was revised. In particular, the nose section has been changed in accordance with the updated composition of the equipment and the receipt of new functions. In the near future, it is planned to introduce a new VK-2500P engine with an improved control system, which is distinguished by greater survivability and stability. The main system and tail rotor are taken from the basic design.
The helicopter regularly receives an H025 overhead radar. The avionics complex is being rebuilt using new devices responsible for data exchange, information processing and weapons control. Now you can control the UAV. The equipment of the cabins has been improved; both are standardly equipped with flight controls. All these measures help to increase the situational awareness of the crew, simplify the processing of incoming data and make the use of weapons more effective.
The Mi-28NM retains its cannon mount and can use the entire range of ammunition for the base helicopter. It includes unguided and guided missiles and bombs of various types. With their help, the helicopter can hit stationary and mobile targets within a radius of 8-10 km, incl. objects with powerful reservations. A new universal missile has been developed for the Mi-28NM, capable of attacking ground and air targets.
Like its predecessors, the Mi-28NM has armored cab protection that can withstand bullets and small-caliber shells. Provided for the use of an on-board defense system, detecting the launch of missiles and disrupting their guidance.
For your own army
According to known data, to date, the Russian army has ordered and received more than a hundred Mi-28 helicopters of three main modifications. This technique is spread over several parts in the western and southern parts of the country. She is successfully exploited and regularly involved in various events.
In May 2019, domestic media reported that the Rostvertol plant had begun production of new Mi-28NM. Soon it became known about the plans of the Ministry of Defense to purchase about a hundred serial vehicles of this type. Such news did not remain unconfirmed for long. Already during the Army-2019 forum, a contract was signed for the supply of 98 helicopters until 2027.
According to Rostec, serial production under the new contract started in September last year. In the near future, the transfer of the first batch of equipment to the customer was expected, but this has not happened yet. Apparently, the first batch will be delivered before MAKS-2021, which will allow showing a serial sample at the salon.
Mi helicopters, including combat vehicles, are very popular among foreign customers. The export version of the Mi-28 also managed to become the subject of several contracts, and it is expected that the appearance of new modifications will contribute to the conclusion of more contracts.
Mi-28NE and Mi-28UB were supplied to Algeria and Iraq - about 15 vehicles of both types for each of these countries. Algerian equipment has so far only participated in various exercises, while helicopters of the Iraqi army are regularly used in real combat operations. In both cases, Russian-made equipment shows high performance and wide capabilities.
At the end of July, a new modification of the Mi-28NM is going to be shown at the MAKS-2021 salon. During this event, such a helicopter will have to demonstrate the latest achievements of the Russian industry, as well as attract the attention of potential foreign customers. In fact, again we are talking about advertising our military products.
Obviously, the Mi-28NM will be of interest to foreign armies. In response to this interest, its export version will be created, and it will be fully introduced to the international market. The first contracts for such equipment can be expected over the next few years. The timing of their appearance will directly depend on the speed of development of the export "NM".
It is not yet known which countries will want to buy the new Russian helicopter. At the same time, the approximate circle of potential buyers is clear. In the Ministry of Industry and Trade, they are considered the countries of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. They are showing interest in the existing export version of the Mi-28, and the new modification will not go unnoticed. However, specific states, expected supply volumes, etc. are not named.
To date, Russian Helicopters, represented by several organizations and enterprises, have completed the development of another modification of the Mi-28 attack helicopter and brought it to serial production. Right now, the construction of the first batch of machines is underway, which will soon be handed over to the customer. In total, in the next 6-7 years, the army will receive 98 of these helicopters, which will supplement more than a hundred machines of previous versions.
In addition, Rostec and Russian Helicopters plan to promote the Mi-28NM on the international market. This process will begin in two months with the demonstration of such a helicopter at the MAKS-2021 salon. How successful such an advertising campaign will be - time will tell. In the meantime, it is clear that the next version of the Mi-28 compares favorably with its predecessors and from other equipment, incl. foreign, and therefore is really able to interest potential customers.