Mi-28H participated in the renewed competition from Russia, and the United States presented its Apache Longbow. After comparing the documentation and submitted helicopters, the Indian military took a specific position. On the one hand, they were satisfied by the Russian Mi-28H. On the other hand, it was clear from the statements and actions of potential customers that they would hardly buy this helicopter. As an explanation of these "double standards", the Indians are sometimes reluctant to buy weapons and military equipment from only one country. This is completely understandable: India is currently the world's largest buyer. weapons. Naturally, New Delhi does not want to order weapons only from Russia and receive a number of specific problems associated with spare parts, etc. As a result, as already mentioned, the American project was chosen as the winner. In the coming years, the Boeing company will receive about one and a half billion dollars and send to India more than two brand new attack helicopters.
The outcome of the Indian tender for the Russian public looks sad. Naturally, the expected gossip and comparisons of our Mi-28H with the American Apache immediately began. As a matter of fact, these discussions have been going on for more than one year and now their next round has just begun. Let's try to compare these machines, which by right are the embodiment of the most advanced technologies in the helicopter industry of the two countries.
First of all, it is necessary to touch upon the concept of application, in accordance with which Mi-28Н and AH-64 were created. The American helicopter was designed to become a carrier of precision weapons designed to attack enemy equipment and objects. In the future, it was planned to equip it with equipment for all-weather work and new weapons. All this most directly affected the appearance of the finished machine. The Soviet / Russian helicopter, in turn, continued the concept of an attack aircraft, a helicopter direct support for troops. However, unlike the previous shock of the Mi-24, the Mi-28 was not supposed to carry soldiers. Nevertheless, the Soviet project meant the installation of a wide range of weapons, designed both to combat the enemy's manpower and to destroy armored vehicles. The main work on both projects was started at about the same time, but a number of technical problems, and then economic difficulties, “spread out” the start of serial production of helicopters for more than twenty years. In the past since the beginning of the production time, several modifications of both helicopters were created. Of these, only AH-64D Apache Longbow and Mi-28H went to the large series.
AH-64D Apache 101 aviation US Army Regiment in Iraq
We begin the comparison of helicopters with their weight and size parameters. The empty Mi-28H is almost one and a half times heavier than the “American” - 7900 kg versus 5350. A similar situation is observed with normal take-off weight, which in the Apache is equal to 7530 kilograms, and in the Mi-28Н - 10900. The maximum take-off weight of both helicopters is about a ton more than normal. And yet a much more important parameter for a combat vehicle is the mass of the payload. The Mi-28Н carries almost two times more weight on the suspensions than the “Apache” - 1600 kilogram. The only drawback of a larger payload is the need for a more powerful engine. So, the Mi-28H is equipped with two TV3-117ВМА turboshaft engines with a take-off power of 2200 horsepower. Engines "Apache" - two General Electric T-700GE-701C 1890 HP on takeoff mode. Thus, the American helicopter has a large power density - about 400-405 HP. per tonne normal take-off weight than the Mi-28H.
In addition, it is necessary to consider the load on the screw. With a rotor diameter in 14,6 meters, the AH-64D has a floppy disk in 168 square meters. The larger Mi-28H propeller with a 17,2 meter diameter gives this helicopter a disc area of 232 sq.m. Thus, the load on the disk in the Apache Longbow and the Mi-28H with a normal take-off weight is 44 and 46 kilograms per square meter, respectively. At the same time, despite the lower load on the screw, in terms of speed, the Apache Longbow wins the Mi-28H only at the maximum allowable speed. In an emergency, the American helicopter can accelerate to 365 km / h. The Russian helicopter in this parameter is several tens of kilometers per hour. The cruising speed of both helicopters is about the same - 265-270 km / h. As for the flight range, here is the leader of the Mi-28H. With a full refueling of its own tanks, it can fly up to 450 kilometers, which is 45-50 kilometers more than AH-64D. The static and dynamic ceilings of the considered machines are approximately equal.
Mi-28H board №37 yellow at the exhibition MAKS-2007, Ramenskoye, 26.08.2007 (photo - Fedor Borisov, http://www.airliners.net)
Guns and unguided weapons
It should be noted that the weight and flight data are actually a means of ensuring the delivery of weapons to the place of their use. It is in the composition of weapons and related equipment that the most serious differences of the Apache Longbow and the Mi-28Н lie. In general, the set of weapons is relatively similar: helicopters carry an automatic gun, unguided and guided weapons; Ammunition composition may vary depending on the need. A constant part of the weapons of both helicopters remain guns. In the nose of the helicopter Mi-28H there is a mobile cannon mount NPPU-28 with a gun 2А42 of millimeter 30 caliber. The automatic gun of the Russian helicopter, among other things, is interesting because it was borrowed from the armament complex of the BMP-2 and BMD-2 ground combat vehicles. Due to this origin, 2А42 can hit manpower and lightly armored enemy vehicles at distances of at least two or three kilometers. The maximum effective range of fire is four kilometers. On the American helicopter AH-64D, in turn, the 30-mm M230 Chain Gun cannon is mounted in the mobile unit. With the same caliber as the 2А42, the American gun differs from it in its characteristics. Thus, “Chain Gan” has a higher rate of fire - about 620 rounds per minute versus 500 on 2А42. At the same time, M230 uses the 30x113 mm projectile, and 2A42 uses the 30x165 mm. Because of the smaller weight of gunpowder in the projectiles and the shorter barrel, the Chain Gun has a smaller effective fire range: about 1,5-2 kilometers. In addition, it should be noted that 2А42 is an automatic gun with a vapor system, and M230, as its name implies, is made according to the scheme of an automatic gun with an external drive. Thus, the “Chain Gan” requires an external power supply to operate the automation. As practice shows, such a system is viable and efficient, but in some countries it is considered that the aircraft gun must be “self-sufficient” and not require any external sources of energy. The barrel arms of the Mi-28H helicopter are the product of this very concept. The only parameter by which the Apache Longbow cannon surpasses the installation of the MTPU-28 is the ammunition load. The American helicopter carries up to 1200 shells, Russian - four times less.
The rest of the weapons of both helicopters is mounted on four pylons under the wing. Universal holders allow you to hang a wide range of weapons. It is worth noting that of the helicopters in question, only Mi-28H has the ability to use bombs. The fact is that the guided bombs in NATO have too much weight for AH-64D to take in enough. At the same time, the payload of the Mi-28H in 1600 kg does not allow to suspend more than three bombs of the caliber 500 kg, which is clearly not enough for most tasks. It is worth noting that at the development stage of the Apache project, American engineers and the military abandoned the idea of a helicopter bomber. The possibility of carrying and using guided bombs was considered, but the relatively small payload of the helicopter did not, as a result, make it possible to fully implement this idea. For this reason, both the AH-64D and the Mi-28H are mainly “using” missile weapons.
A characteristic distinction of the helicopters is the range of used unguided missiles. The American Apache Longbow carries only Hydra 70 rocket caliber 70 mm. Depending on the need, launch pads with a capacity of up to 19 unguided missiles (M261 or LAU-61 / A) can be mounted on the pylons of the helicopter. Thus, the maximum stock is 76 missiles. In this case, the instructions for the operation of the helicopter are advised to take no more than two units with NAR - these recommendations are due to the maximum payload. Mi-28H was originally created as a helicopter of the battlefield, which influenced the nomenclature of unguided weapons. In one configuration or another, the Russian helicopter can carry a wide range of unguided aircraft in large quantities. For example, when installing blocks for C-8 missiles, the maximum ammunition is 80 rockets. In the case of the use of heavier C-13 ammunition is four times less. In addition, the Mi-28H, if necessary, can carry containers with machine guns or cannons, as well as unguided bombs and incendiary tanks of the appropriate caliber.
Mi-28H board №08 blue at the air base in Budennovsk, 2010. The helicopter is equipped with a complete set of on-board defense complex - containers with IR traps, sensors SPO, etc. (photo - Alex Beltyukov, http://www.airliners.net)
Such an advantage in relation to unguided weapons is due to the initial concept of the use of helicopters. Apache, and then Apache Longbow, was created as a hunter for enemy armored vehicles, which affected its entire appearance and weapons in the first place. In the early stages of development, the intended use of the future attack helicopter was seen as follows. The helicopter junction is on the intended path of an enemy mechanized column and is waiting for a reconnaissance signal or is independently looking for targets. When approaching tanks or other enemy armored vehicles, helicopters, hiding under the folds of terrain, "jump out" to the launch point and launch an attack with anti-tank missiles. First of all, it was necessary to knock out anti-aircraft self-propelled guns, after which it was possible to destroy other equipment. Initially, the BGM-64 TOW guided missiles were considered the main weapons for the AH-71. However, their relatively short range - no more than four kilometers - could lead to sad consequences for the pilots. In the mid-seventies, the USSR and its allies were armed with military air defense systems capable of fighting targets at such distances. Therefore, the attacking helicopter during the guidance of the TOW missile risked being shot down. As a result, I had to look for a new weapon, which was the AGM-114 Hellfire missile. In the early versions of this missile, semi-active radar guidance was used, but then, for various reasons, experiments began with other types of homing. As a result, in 1998, the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile, designed specifically for the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter, was adopted. From the previous modifications, it is primarily distinguished by homing equipment. For the first time in the Hellfire family, an original combination of inertial and radar guidance was used. Immediately before launch, the helicopter’s onboard equipment transmits to the missile data regarding the target: the direction and distance to it, as well as the parameters of the helicopter and the enemy’s machine. To do this, the helicopter is forced to "jump out" for several seconds due to natural shelter. At the end of the “jump”, a rocket is launched. Hellfire Longbow independently enters the approximate target area using an inertial guidance system, after which it includes an active radar system that captures the target and finally guides it. This guidance method actually allows you to limit the launch range only to the characteristics of the rocket engine. Currently, Hellfire fly at a range of about 8-10 km. A characteristic feature of the updated Hellfire missile is the absence of the need for constant illumination of the target by helicopter or ground units. At the same time, the AGM-114L is much more expensive than previous modifications of this missile, however, the difference in the cost of ammunition is more than compensated by the destruction of the enemy armored car.
The Mi-28Н helicopter, in turn, was created as an air support vehicle, including the destruction of armored targets. For this reason, its armament is more universal than specialized. To combat the enemy’s armored vehicles, the Mi-28H can be equipped with “Storm” guided missiles or a newer type “Attack-V”. On the pylons of the helicopter is placed up to 16 missiles of one or another model. Russian anti-tank missiles use a different guidance system than the US. “Storm” and its deep modernization “Attack-V” use radio command guidance. This technical solution has both advantages and disadvantages. The positive features of the applied command system relate to the simplicity and low cost of the rocket. In addition, the lack of need for heavy equipment for self-guidance allows you to make either more compact rockets, or equip them with a more powerful warhead. As a result, the base missile of the Attack complex of the 9М120 model delivers a tandem cumulative warhead with a penetrability of at least 800 mm of homogeneous armor to a distance of six kilometers. There is information about the existence of new versions of the rocket, having the best indicators of armor penetration and range. However, for these qualities have to pay. Radio command guidance requires installation on a helicopter of relatively complex equipment for capturing and tracking a target, as well as for generating and sending commands for a rocket. Thus, the helicopter does not have the ability to use anti-tank weapons in a “jump” mode for tracking and guiding the missile. Radio command guidance requires a relatively long stay in the zone of visibility of the enemy, which exposes the helicopter to the danger of a retaliatory attack. For this, the onboard equipment of the Mi-28H has the ability to change the direction of the control radiation. The rotating unit of the transmitting antenna and the tracking equipment for the rocket allows the helicopter to maneuver along the yaw within 110 ° from the launch direction and tilt up to 30 ° from the horizontal. Of course, such opportunities in certain circumstances may turn out to be insufficient, which, however, is compensated by the missile’s sufficient range and its high speed. In other words, with a successful set of circumstances, the anti-tank missile of the Ataka-V complex will be able to destroy the enemy anti-aircraft system before it has time to launch the missile in response. At the same time, do not forget about the trends of recent years, implying a complete transition to the concept of "shot-forgotten."
For self-defense, both helicopters can carry air-to-air guided missiles. For this purpose, the Mi-28H is equipped with four short-range P-60 missiles with an infra-red homing head; AH-64D - AIM-92 Stinger or AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles with similar guidance systems.
Crew and protection systems
When building Mi-28 and AH-64 helicopters, customers expressed the wish to get combat vehicles with a crew of two. This requirement was due to the desire to facilitate the work of the helicopter pilots. Thus, the crew of both helicopters consists of two people - the pilot and the navigator-operator. Another feature that unites helicopters concerns the location of the pilots. The designers of Mil and McDonnell Douglas (she developed Apache before being bought by Boeing), together with the military, came to the conclusion regarding the optimal placement of crew jobs. The tandem arrangement of the two cockpits made it possible to reduce the width of the fuselage, improve visibility from workplaces, and also provide both pilots with a complete set of equipment necessary for piloting and / or using weapons. It is noteworthy that the helicopters under consideration are not only united by the idea of crew accommodation. On both helicopters, the cockpit is located behind and above the cockpit of the weapon operator. Approximately similar and the compositions of the equipment booths. Thus, the pilot of the Mi-28H or AH-64D helicopter has at its disposal the entire set of flight instruments, as well as some means for the use of weapons, primarily unguided rocket launchers. Navigators-operators, in turn, also have the ability to control the flight, but their jobs are seriously equipped to use all types of weapons.
Separately, it is worthwhile to dwell on security systems. Being at a short distance from the enemy, the helicopter of the battlefield risks falling under the fire of enemy anti-aircraft artillery or becoming a target for guided missiles. As a result, some protection is required. The main element of the booking Mi-28H is a metal "bath", made of 10-mm aluminum armor. Ceramic tiles with a thickness of 16 mm are installed on top of the aluminum construction. Polyurethane sheets are laid between the layer of metal and ceramics. Such a composite reservation can withstand shelling from NATO NATO 20-mm guns. The design of the doors to reduce weight is a "sandwich" of two aluminum plates and a polyurethane block. Cabin glazing is made of silicate blocks with a thickness of 22 mm (side windows) and 44 mm (frontal). Cabin windshields withstand 12,7-mm bullets, while side windows protect against rifle weapons. Reservations also have some vital construction units.
In case the armor did not save the helicopter from critical damage, there are two ways to save the crew. At heights of over one hundred meters above the surface, the main rotor blades, the doors of both cabins and wings are shot, after which special ballonets are inflated, protecting the pilots from strikes against the structural elements. Then the pilots independently leave the helicopter with a parachute. In case of an accident at lower altitudes, where it is not possible to escape with a parachute, the Mi-28H has one more set of measures to save the crew. In case of an accident at an altitude of less than one hundred meters, the automatics tighten the pilot's seat belts and fix them in the correct posture. After that, the helicopter is reduced with the permissible speed in autorotation mode. When landing, the helicopter landing gear and specially designed pilot seats of the Pamir, developed in Zvezda Scientific and Production Enterprise, take over most of the overload that occurs when you touch it. Overloading the order of 50-60 units when structural elements are destroyed is extinguished to 15-17.
The armor protection of the AH-64D helicopter is generally similar to the armor of the Mi-28H, with the difference that the American helicopter is lighter and smaller than the Russian one. As a result, the Apache Longbow cab protects pilots only from millimeter 12,7 caliber bullets. In case of more serious damage between the cabins, there is an armored partition that protects from fragments of shells of caliber up to 23 mm. The overload cancellation system is generally similar to the package of measures taken by the Russian helicopter. The effectiveness of its work can be judged by several known facts. So, at the beginning of this year, a video from Afghanistan was distributed on the Internet, where American pilots on the Apache performed aerobatics in conditions of rarefied mountain air. The pilot did not take into account some of the parameters of the atmosphere, because of which the helicopter literally rode on the ground. Later it turned out that the crew got off with a slight fright and a couple of abrasions, and after a short repair the helicopter went back into service.
Helicopter Mi-28H board No. 50 yellow from a batch of helicopters transferred to the Air Force at 344 air base TSBPiPLLS AA 8 October 2011, Torzhok, Tver region (photo by Sergey Ablogin, http://ablogin.ru/)
Radio electronic equipment
One of the main elements of the Mi-28H and AH-64D Apache Longbow projects is radio electronic equipment. Improving the characteristics of military air defense systems has led to the fact that the concept of the attack helicopter has another point: new machines should have the ability to quickly detect and identify targets at relatively long distances. To do this, it was necessary to equip the helicopter with a radar station and new computing systems. The first such modernization was carried out by the Americans, installing the Lockheed Martin / Northrop Grumman AN / APG-64 Longbow radar on AH-78D.
The most conspicuous part of this station is its antenna, which is placed in the fairing above the screw hub. The rest of the equipment of the Longbow radar is mounted in the fuselage. The radar can operate in three modes: by ground targets, by air, and to track the terrain. In the first case, the station “scans” a sector wide in 45 ° to the right and left of the flight direction and detects targets at distances up to 10-12 kilometers. At these distances, the station can track up to 256 targets and simultaneously determine their type. Based on the characteristic nuances of the reflected radio signal, the AN / APG-78 station automatically determines which object it comes from. In memory of the radar there are signatures of tanks, self-propelled self-propelled guns, helicopters and airplanes. Due to this, the weapon operator has the ability to pre-determine priority targets and pre-configure the AGM-114L rocket, passing on the parameters of the selected target. In the event that it is impossible to accurately determine the danger of an object, a radio frequency interferometer antenna is mounted in the lower part of the Longbow radome radar. This device receives signals emitted by other combat vehicles, and determines the direction to their source. Thus, by comparing data from the radar station and the interferometer, the weapon operator can with high accuracy find the most dangerous enemy armored object. After the detection and introduction of target parameters, the pilot makes a “jump”, and the navigator launches a rocket.
The AN / APG-78 radar operating mode for aerial targets implies a circular view of the surrounding space with the definition of three types of targets: airplanes, as well as moving and frozen helicopters. As for the tracking mode of the terrain, in this case, "Longbow" provides low-altitude flight, including in adverse weather conditions. It is interesting to display information about the surface: so that the pilot was not distracted by the mass of symbols, only those obstacles whose height is approximately equal to or higher than the height of the helicopter’s flight are displayed on the radar screen. Due to this, the pilot does not waste time on identifying those objects and landscape elements that can be simply ignored because of their safety.
It is worth noting that, in addition to the new AN / APG-78 radar, Apache Longbow avionics also includes other more familiar systems. The integrated weapons control system, if necessary, allows the use of TADS, PNVS, etc. equipment. In addition, the helicopter AH-64D used a new system of identification "friend or foe", among other things, automatically blocking attempts to make an attack on an object identified as its own. This opportunity was added in connection with the repeated incidents of strikes against our own and allied forces through the fault of reconnaissance and target designation. According to various calculations, the combat effectiveness of the AH-64D helicopter equipped with the Longbow radar is up to four times higher than that of the base vehicle. Survival at the same time increased almost sevenfold.
The basis of the on-board radio-electronic equipment of the Mi-28H helicopter and its main "highlight" is the H-025 radar developed by the Ryazan State Instrument Plant (GRPS). It is worth noting that there is some confusion regarding the radar for the domestic helicopter. Because of the rather complicated stories the choice of equipment for the Mi-28H, a number of sources mention the use of the Arbalet radar, created at the NIIR Phasotron. As in the case of AN / APG-78 Longbow, the antenna of the H-025 station is placed inside the fairing on the rotor hub. At the same time, there are differences. First of all, they relate to methods of application. Unlike the "Longbow", the domestic station has only two modes of operation: by land and by air. The pride of the developers of the station from the GPP are its characteristics when working on the ground. The H-025 station has a wider viewing area of the underlying surface than the AN / APG-78, its width is equal to 120 degrees. The maximum range of "visibility" radar - 32 km. At the same distance, the automatic equipment of the radar station is able to make an approximate map of the area. With regard to the detection and identification of targets, these parameters H-025 are approximately equal to the corresponding characteristics of AN / APG-78. Large objects like bridges are “visible” from a distance of about 25 kilometers. Tanks and similar armored vehicles - with half the distances. The air-to-surface radar mode of operation provides pilotage at low altitudes in all weather conditions and at any time of the day. For this, the H-025 has the ability to detect small objects, such as trees or power line poles. Moreover, at a distance of the order of 400 meters, the Mi-28Н radar can even recognize individual power lines. Another interesting feature of the mapping system is its function of creating a three-dimensional image. If necessary, the crew can “shoot” the area in front of the helicopter using the radar and carefully study it using the 3D model displayed on the screen.
Mi-28N serial No. 07-01 board No. 26 blue in Rostov on Air Day Fleet Russia, August 19.08.2012, XNUMX (photo - ErikRostovSpotter, http://aviaforum.ru)
When the radar is switched to air-to-air mode, the antenna starts a circular rotation, scanning all the surrounding space in azimuth. The vertical viewing area is 60 ° wide. The detection range for “aircraft” targets is within 14-16 kilometers. Anti-aircraft and aircraft missiles "visible" from a distance of about 5-6 km. In the “over the air” mode, the H-025 radar can track up to twenty targets and transmit data about them to other helicopters. A reservation should be made: information on air targets, both on the Mi-28H and AH-64D is used only for analyzing possible risks and transmitting data to other combat vehicles. Air-to-air missiles P-60 or AIM-92, designed for self-defense, are equipped with infrared homing heads and, as a result, do not require prior data transmission from helicopter systems. In addition to the H-025 radar, the Mi-28H has an integrated weapon control system that allows you to use all available weapons in various conditions.
Who is better?
Comparing AH-64D Apache Longbow and Mi-28H helicopters is a rather specific and difficult affair. Of course, both helicopters belong to the class of attack helicopters. However, they share equally and common features and differences. For example, for an ignorant person, both helicopters look quite similar. But on closer examination, differences in size, armament, etc. are striking. Finally, when studying the history of the helicopters in question, it turns out that they differ even at the level of the concept of application. In this regard, two quite different helicopters were created. If you do not go into technical details, the Apache Longbow is a relatively small and light helicopter, the task of which is to "shoot" enemy tanks from a long distance. In addition, the newest version of the AH-64 helicopter was able to conduct operations at any time of the day and in any weather conditions, of course, when it is possible to rise into the air. Mi-28Н, in turn, was created as a significant reworking of its “older brother” Mi-24, which did not receive a cargo compartment, but acquired new weaponry. As a result, the Mi-28H was quite large and heavy, which made it possible to increase both the ammunition and the range of available weapons. At the same time, the Russian helicopter, taking into account the current trends in the development of rotary-winged aircraft and foreign experience, received its own radar station, which significantly increased its combat potential. At the same time, in spite of the new capabilities in the range of attack of targets, the Mi-28Н retained the ability to “hover” over the enemy’s head and attacks from short distances. As for the combat potential of helicopters, it is impossible to compare it at all - only the Apache Longbow participated in the actual battles of the vehicles in question.
Thus, AH-64D Apache Longbow and Mi-28H are both similar and not. It is not difficult to guess that the main differences relate to weapons and the method of its use. Accordingly, it is these qualities of helicopters that should be the main factor influencing the choice of the winner in tenders for the purchase of equipment. It seems that the Indian military, torn between two great options, still decided to get lighter helicopters, "sharpened" to fight the enemy's armored vehicles. But Iraq, unlike India, apparently, preferred a more versatile impact machine in the face of the Mi-28H. Recently, official sources from the administrations of Russia and Iraq have confirmed that in the coming years, an Arab country will receive three dozen Mi-28H helicopters in export version and more than forty Pantsir-C1 air defense missile systems. The total amount of contracts exceeded four billion US dollars. As you can see, the helicopters AH-64D and Mi-28H are good. And each is good in his own way, which, however, does not prevent them from finding new customers.
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