The emergence of such a landmark modern combat helicopter, as the Mi-28, is inextricably linked with history the birth of his rival - Ka-50. The fact is that for the first time in the history of domestic helicopter manufacturing, a competition between two design bureaus, Mil and Kamov, was organized in order to select the best option for the army on a competitive basis. The technical assignment to the implementers from the Ministry of Defense was issued simultaneously, and almost simultaneously, in 1982, both cars took off. The presented samples reflected the difference in the approaches to solving the problem of creating a new, promising combat helicopter.
KB them. M.L. Mile decided to go in an evolutionary way, based on the experience of a well-developed scheme for Mi-24. The single-screw scheme, the tandem arrangement of the crew members, the long-accepted range of weapons used from this helicopter (not to be confused with the weapon system, this is a different, more voluminous concept) reduced the degree of technical risk and increased its “recognition” for the potential consumer and customer ( this, unfortunately, still - different concepts).
Aerodynamically and in terms of performance, each helicopter layout has its advantages and disadvantages.
On the Mi-28A was applied traditional single-screw circuit. This scheme has been worked out constructively. In it, for many years of operation of helicopters around the world, all technical nuances are "licked". There is a vast experience of combat use and statistics of enemy fire fighting effects from all types weapons on the carrier system, and the designers are well aware of what and how should be protected in it in order to achieve the necessary degree of combat stability. The experience of combat use of the legendary predecessor Mi-28, the Mi-24 helicopter around the world, and above all in Afghanistan, made it possible to create a good combat survivability system on a new helicopter. I was impressed by the viewing of a secret film then (now it is declassified) of a film, where various elements of a helicopter's construction were fired from various weapons calibers at the test site. In addition, many solutions that increase the combat survivability of the device have been constructively implemented there. What is worth, for example. so-called "progressive destruction system". This is when the suspension of the seats, the chassis device, the cabin mount is made to ensure the survival of the crew members when they strike at a vertical speed of about 13 meters per second! In addition, the engines, transmission elements, including the main gearbox, are positioned so that the crew does not press down in an accident. This, of course, is great, and already modern practice has shown that these innovations work. There were already several cases where the crew survived after the helicopter crashed. True, it was twice that, after landing, the surviving pilot, who had tried to get out of his cockpit early, was killed by the remnants of the blades that continued to rotate for a while. The extreme case is Igor Butenko 2 August 2015.
The tandem arrangement of the crew members taken on combat (shock) helicopters around the world, since it allows to reduce the potential area of destruction of the device by the enemy. But! This makes it difficult for crew members to interact in combat, especially when there is an intensive air exchange in the air, which is typical of a complicated combat situation.
The single-screw circuit is more resistant to entering the vortex ring mode. This is such a mode when, in the absence of a forward speed, the pilot, if he decides to transfer the car to a vertical decline, then when a certain speed of this vertical decline is reached, the air flow thrown by the rotor begins to be sucked from above, and control loses and the vertical speed increases. declines down to catastrophic. So, this parameter of vertical descent at single-rotor circuit is about 4 meters per second. This is in the piggy bank of this scheme with a plus sign. But its downside is a pronounced dislike for the right side wind during takeoff and landing at a speed of more than 5 meters per second. Such is the aerodynamics of the tail rotor, which, with these parameters, falls into the supercritical angles of attack of the elements of the blades and loses its thrust. And then - the unbalanced reactive moment from the rotation of the rotor, which was previously pacified by the tail rotor, begins to spin the car wildly to the left, which ends in most cases by tipping the helicopter ...
In addition, the presented version of the Mi-28A raised questions like:
- Why is his speed even lower than that of Mi 24?
- And why - the same aviation means of destruction?
- Where are the bombs for use from a helicopter?
- And where is the second control for the navigator?
- No, the fact that maneuverability is higher is good! The available overload is greater, the heights of the static and dynamic ceiling are higher, the car is "softer" in terms of tactile sensations - it's all great. But why can not we use it in operation, because Does the design bureau have imposed bans and restrictions due to the fact that it has not yet solved the problem of an irreducible increase in the temperature of the oil in the main and intermediate gearboxes?
Yes, and the weapons complex does not work as we would like.
For all these questions, Mil's design bureau, which for a long time was a monopolist in the domestic helicopter industry of combat "land" helicopters, either referred to the content of the TK, signed by the military, or answered with the thesis that "you will be able to do that", .
In another way, porridge was cooked in the KB. Kamov. For a long time they worked there with a coaxial scheme of helicopters intended for use in the national economy, and if for military purposes, then sea-based, with search and rescue tasks, as well as anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare. Participation in the tender for a combat land helicopter was a novelty for them. Kamovtsy decided to go for broke. The degree of novelty of their cars was prohibitive. Single combat unit with guided missiles unprecedented range and ejection seat! Astonishing maneuverability, thrust-to-arm ratio - all this should have made an impression on the military!
The application of the coaxial scheme promised great benefits. The design of the carrier system, although more complicated than the single-screw, was quite well developed by that time. At the same time, the aerodynamic benefit of using this scheme was that the engine power is not expended on the drive of the steering screw with its transmission, and these losses are no less than about 20%! The helicopter is more compact. In the weapons system, Kamovians used their main trump card - the Whirlwind guided weapons complex with a range of use of aircraft guided missiles up to 10 km. Nowadays none of our foreign opponents have such a range. A well-balanced 30-mm caliber gun (the same as on the Mi-28), located "under the arm", as pilots say in their slang, beats more accurately than a competitor, since it is located near the center of mass. The level of automation, as conceived by the design bureau, makes it possible to solve all combat missions to one crew member. The issues of combat survivability were also well developed, plus a system unprecedented by helicopters - the ejection system - was added. By the way, it still does not exist on any helicopter of the world, except Ka-50 and Ka-52, which appeared later.
Coaxial scheme is not afraid of side winds at all. The biggest trouble that can happen if you exceed the limits on this parameter - the helicopter will turn against the wind. Like a weather vane.
When questions arose during the tests, the company behaved according to the principle: "Say what you need and we will do it!"
Comparative tests of both machines, conducted in the 80 and early 90-s. They have not yet ended, but it was already becoming clear that, in a number of parameters, the Mi-28 has no advantages, and in some cases it is lagging behind. Under these conditions, the general designer of KB them. M.L. Mile, at that time - Weinberg MV, decided to remove the Mi-28 from the competition. As he later explained his decision to me, using chess terminology: "I can afford to lose one game, but I know that I will win the tournament. We will put forward a proposal for a round-the-clock machine, and then we will see who will win." Unfortunately, he failed to look ...
Mark Vladimirovich, an outstanding designer, a man of the broadest engineering knowledge and remarkable spiritual qualities died in 1997.
Thus, at that stage, the competition was won by Ka-50. In 1995, this helicopter was officially adopted by the Russian, by that time, army. The machine spun briskly on all air shows held at that time, writing out aerobatic maneuvers. Impressed the audience. Participated in the tender for a combat helicopter in Turkey. A model version of the helicopter called “Erdogan” was even built - apparently, in order to please the vanity of the then Turkish Prime Minister. True, it did not help. Americans simply did not allow a NATO member country to buy a Russian combat helicopter. But participation in an overseas tender has enriched the manufacturing company with the necessary valuable experience. And above all - in terms of PR. Here the general designer of the company Mikheev SV quite succeeded. That only is the creation of the movie "Black Shark", after which, with a light hand of the designer, this name is firmly fixed in the minds of the population, not even dedicated to the helicopter theme ...
However, the helicopter did not go into mass production and saturation of parts of army aviation. The reason for this is that the so-called "dashing nineties". The period of life of our country, which is to describe something there is neither desire nor meaning. Poverty and destruction, in a word. Therefore, only a few cars settled in the center of combat use and retraining of the flight personnel of army aviation in Torzhok for the development of this new complex aviation complex. Best of all the new car was mastered by the then head of the Center, Major-General Vorobiev B.A. He worked wonders on this helicopter! He represented him in all the salons, demonstrating such a complex of aerobatic figures, which thrilled the audience! Yes, and experts - too. But the Ka-50 continued to remain a "saloon car". He could become a fully combat helicopter after his experience of using in a real armed conflict. And soon such a case presented itself. In August, 1999 broke out the second Chechen campaign. I proposed to our commander of the army aviation Colonel-General V.Ye. use the BEG consisting of two Ka-50 and one Ka-29 VLSTU in Chechnya. He endorsed this proposal, and the work boiled over. The whole year was needed to resolve all issues of a technical and organizational nature, and only 26 December 2000. the group was at the airport of Grozny-north. 2 January 2001. held a historic aviation event. For the first time in world practice, a combat action was carried out by means of a defeat against an enemy from a helicopter of a coaxial scheme! For this, the pilot was awarded the title Hero of Russia. The group, having completed its program, returned to the base at the appropriate time. And we began to generalize the experience and think about what to do next. The fact is that by that time, understanding had begun not only of the positive aspects related to the operation of the combat helicopter of the coaxial circuit, but also of the shortcomings.
So, for example, this aerodynamic scheme, although it has advantages over a single-screw, for side wind restrictions during take-off and landing, has much lower parameters for stalling into a vortex ring. The boundary of the breakdown of her begins with two (!) Meters per second. For this reason, in 1984, a catastrophe occurred in which the tester died, E. Laryushin. And in 1998, on this machine, the head of the Center, Chkalov Army Aviation, as we called it, General BA Vorobiev, died. The direct cause of this catastrophe was the impact of the blades of the lower and upper screws. Officially in the conclusion of the investigation recorded "hitting flight modes, not previously investigated." Well, what was really there, I personally find it difficult to say ...
No one yet knows what will happen if you subject the coaxial carrier system to shelling from below. Answering this question to opponents, general designer Mikheev S.V. stated that he would conduct such an experiment. However, this has not been done so far ... The experience gained has led to the conclusion that, in principle, one pilot will be able to perform tasks for stationary, previously explored targets. He will be able to conduct air combat, using a large thrust-weight Ka-50. But close up over the battlefield with intense enemy fire confrontation, search and find moving targets, navigate, link to auxiliary landmarks for re-entry and at the same time fly a helicopter at extremely low altitude while working with an armament complex - this seemed difficult ... Therefore In the report to the Chief of General Staff on the results of the “Chechen expedition”, along with the positive aspects, it was noted that it was proposed to concentrate financial, and other and other efforts to create a two-seater. The resolution of the NGSH appeared on this report: "I agree."
And at this time in KB them. M.L. Mile was in full swing working on the creation of an all-weather, round-the-clock version of a helicopter called the Mi-28H. Similar work was carried out in the KB them. Kamov, over the Ka-52 helicopter, already double. Moreover, Kamovtsy was one and a half ahead of the competitors of the year. They had already managed to carry out the LTH stage (flight performance) of state tests at a time when the Milovets were still far from its completion.
At that time I served as Chief of Combat Training of Army Aviation of the Office of Army Aviation under the leadership of Colonel-General V.Ye. With the permission of the commander, I used the official position with all my might, I tried out new, promising helicopters, which by that time had not even been submitted for state tests. But it was necessary for us to know what they are. Therefore, not trusting technical descriptions, and even more so - advertising materials, he personally communicated with the equipment in the air, making up his opinion about it, which he then reported to the commander. This made it possible to avoid many mistakes when adopting this or that sample, to oppose both supporters and opponents from the respective opposing camps of both design bureaus. Many times I was convinced that in this regard, to trust the opinion of outsiders is the same as making a choice of a bride from a photograph and from the words of a professional matchmaker. They all lied! Persistently, selflessly!
So, I fly on the Mi-28А given to me for reference by the Milians. I notice some shaking at a speed of about 220 km / h, which increases with increasing speed. After landing, they explain to me that, they say, they were in a hurry to present the car, and did not have time to reduce the synchronism of the plane of rotation of the blades, i.e. "make a cone." However, this deficiency manifested itself further on other machines and was “treated” for a long time later.
It was possible to fly on the version of the helicopter with control in the front cabin. It was exotic! This is remembered by the company until now. At our whining about the need for such management: they say, how to train-retrain pilots, and even in battle, the commander was suddenly wounded or killed, and M.V. Weinberg replied that at one time the military had issued such TK to them. They wanted, apparently, to save on the flight crew. Now, in order to do it, you need to redo the whole helicopter! However, the company tried to make such control by creating an EDSU (electronic-remote control system). This - a few wires, actuators and sensors connected to each other. Of course, this is very schematically said. Well, I sit in the front cockpit and hear the tester's sigh from behind. I looked - in the cockpit two joysticks. One - in place of the step-gas, the other - in the area of the right armpit. Pedals - no. But, the tester tells me, when you switch to the hover mode, the right joystick will also rotate around the axis. This is instead of pedals ... Well, I will not describe how everything worked in flight, only I rejected this system, and we didn’t turn to it anymore. Subsequently, already in the 2013 year, a Mi-28UB helicopter with full dual control in both cabins will still appear. Made by import order. So, "if you can not, but really want, then you can"?
I had the opportunity to fly on the prototype Ka-52, which existed at that time in a single copy. The car, although it was also shaking at speeds over 270 km / h, seemed to me an interesting arrangement of crew members according to the "side by side" scheme, that is, next to it. Like the Mi-8. This makes it much easier to understand each other in battle, to see the entire crew with the entire set of displays on the dashboard, and in terms of overview, if we mean the capabilities of the entire crew, then the sectors are even larger. Both the company and the other company promised that the onboard locator is about to "light up" and it will be possible to use it to shoot and navigate, and everything will be very beautiful with it! Unfortunately, so far "not all issues have been resolved." Just as promised NSTU literally soon (nashlemnaya target designation system). Until now, the matter has not moved further than the mock-ups.
Especially the "lacquering of reality" became aggravated during the period when S. Mikheev It was initiated consideration of the need to finance only one project of a long-term, all-weather, all-weather round-the-clock helicopter.
They say that the time is difficult, there is little money in the country, the impermissible luxury of drawing two projects at once: "The elk is very small, not enough for everyone." At that time I made up the proposals of our Office for the financing of OCD and R & D in the interests of army aviation, and, like no one, I knew that for both OCR, by virtue of these circumstances, crumbs were really allocated. To my question: “Do you understand that you are opening Pandorra’s box with unpredictable consequences?”, Sergey Viktorovich, slyly narrowing his eyes, answered: “I’m not afraid of risk. Besides, it will be clear who is for whom ...” that it will be clear who is whose apologist. I must say that by that time the Kamovites had a definite head start. In the safe at the then Air Force Commander Mikhailov VS The act of carrying out the first stage of state tests of the Ka-52 rested, whereas the Milovites with the Mi-28Н had, by that time, “the horse did not roll” in this regard.
Yes, the act was. Signed. BUT! Unapproved by the commander in chief. In the future, he will lie there for a year and a half! This allowed the Milovtsi to eliminate the odds and, having consolidated all forces, direct the work of the commission to consider the issue "in the right direction".
In the final report of the commission it was written about the expediency of financing the Mi-28Н project. The corresponding report on the results of the work of the commission was sent to the NSG, which imposed a resolution:
In addition, "reserves were tightened," and the Order of the President of the Russian Federation was born on the early adoption of the Mi-28Н. Work in this direction began to boil with treblenno force!
And what about Ka-52?
A couple of weeks after the end of the commission’s work, I was summoned to the General Staff in an office and asked for my opinion about both helicopters. I replied that, they say, the commission worked, it made its conclusions. No, they say, we know about it, we are interested in your opinion. Here I declare that the commission worked under the chairmanship of the commander, and corporate ethics does not allow me to report officially, but, as an individual, I have the opportunity to express my independent opinion.
And, after an approving nod, he told everything that I think about this, having concluded that it was necessary to have both helicopters. Since each of them has its own characteristics that need to be optimized to solve certain problems. For example, the Mi-28H is a battlefield machine that must solve the enemy’s fire attack tasks on the “front end”, and these tasks are solved in 70% of cases in simple weather conditions during the day. But Ka-52 should be designed to solve problems at night and in SMU, that is, special tasks, including on the topic of anti-terror. Hearing my report, they nodded to me a second time. On the table of the NGSH he laid down a report from this administration, which repeated, almost word for word, my proposal, and on which the NGSh also wrote: "I agree." So now, when hearing about the Ka-52 TV announcers or when reporting on MAKS, they say “designed for solving anti-terror tasks,” I will gladly recognize my idiom, and think that “we plowed too ...”, and it is not known that it was with the other helicopter. And in general. The design bureau and the factories made it "iron", and we breathe our soul into it ...
Then - there were testers and Torzhok, pilots of combat units and equipment. They taught these children to walk, speak their own language, frolic, know how to stand up for themselves and for others ... But all this was already later ...