The Mil Mi-28 (NATO reporting name ‘Havoc’) is a Russian all-weather day-night military tandem two-seat anti-armour attack helicopter. It is a dedicated attack helicopter with no intended secondary transport capability, better optimized than the Mil Mi-24 for the anti-tank role. It carries a single gun in an undernose barbette, plus external loads carried on pylons beneath stub wings.
Development began following completion of the Mi-24, a unique attack helicopter with transport capability, in 1972. The new design has a reduced transport capability (3 troops instead of 8), omitted the cabin, delivering better overall performance and higher top speed, important for its intended role fighting against tanks and enemy helicopters and covering helicopter landing operations. Initially, many different designs were considered, including an unconventional project with two main rotors, placed with engines on tips of wings (in perpendicular layout), and with an additional pusher propeller on the tail. In 1977, a preliminary design was chosen, in a classic single-rotor layout. It lost its similarity to the Mi-24, and even the canopies were smaller, with flat surfaces.
Design work began on the Mi-28 began under Marat Tishchenko in 1980. In 1981, a design and a mock-up were accepted. The prototype (no. 012) was first flown on 10 November 1982. The second prototype (no. 022) was completed in 1983. In 1984 the Mi-28 completed the first stage of state trials, but in October 1984 the Soviet Air Force chose the more advanced Kamov Ka-50 as the new anti-tank helicopter. The Mi-28 development was continued, but given lower priority. In December 1987 Mi-28 production in Rosvertol in Rostov on Don was approved.
A Mil Mi-28N on display
In January 1988 the first Mi-28A prototype (no. 032) flew. It was fitted with more poerful engines and an "X" type tail rotor instead of the three-blade version. The Mi-28A debuted at the Paris Air Show in June 1989. In 1991 the second Mi-28A (no. 042) was completed. The Mi-28A program was cancelled in 1993 because it was deemed uncompetitive with the Ka-50, and in particular, it was not all-weather capable.
Mil Mi-28 nose sensors
Then the Mi-28N, was unveiled in 1995, the N designation meaning "night". The prototype (no. 014) first flew on 14 November 1996. The most significant feature is a radar in a round cover above the main rotor, similar to that of the American AH-64D Longbow Apache. Mi-28N also has improved Tor vision and an aiming device under the nose, including a TV camera and FLIR. Due to funding problems, development was interrupted. A second prototype with an improved rotor design was unveiled in March 2004 at Rosvertol.
A changed military situation after the Cold War made specialized anti-tank helicopters, like Ka-50, less useful. On the other hand, its all-weather two-seater variant Ka-52 had worse performance due to increased weight. The advantages of the Mi-28N, like all-weather action ability, lower cost, and similarity to the Mi-24, have become important. In 2003, a chief of Russian Air Forces stated that the Mi-28N will become the standard Russian attack helicopter.
Mil Mi-28 gun mounting
The first serial Mi-28N was passed to the Army. The aircraft joined the two pre-serial machines which were used for army trials. The aircraft entered service in 2006, along with the similar Ka-50/Ka-52. Up to 10 helicopters will be purchased in 2006 of total 300 to be purchased to 2015.
An export variant of the Mi-28M, designated Mi-28NE, and a simpler day-helicopter variant, the Mi-28D, based on the Mi-28N design, but lacking radar and FLIR have also been developed.
The Indian Military asked for a modified prototype of Mi-28 fitted with French and Belgian avionics. Russian manufacturers are discussing how to meet these requirements.
* Crew: two, pilot and weapons operator
* Length: 17.01 m (55 ft 10 in)
* Main rotor diameter: 17.20 m (56 ft 5 in)
* Height: 3.82 m (12 ft 6 in) (without radar)
* Main rotor area: 232.4 m² (2,500 ft²)
* Empty: 7,890 kg (17,394 lb)
* Loaded: 10,728 kg (22,930 lb)
* Maximum takeoff: 12,100 kg (26,700 lb)
* Powerplant: 2x Klimov TV3-117VM turboshafts, 1,640 kW (2,200 shp) each
* Maximum speed: 377 km/h (218 mph)
* Range: 728 km (286 miles)
* Service ceiling: 5,750 m (18,900 ft)
* Rate of climb: 816 m/min (2,680 ft/min)
* Main rotor loading: 45 kg/m² (9 lb/ft²)
* Power/Mass: 0.31 kW/kg (0.19 hp/lb)
* 1x chin-mounted 30 mm Shipunov 2A42 cannon with 300 rounds (220° horizontal fire)
* up to 2,728 kg (4,728 lb) of disposable stores on four hardpoints including bombs, rockets, gunpods, anti-tank and anti-air missiles.
By Dmitry Terekhov on 2009-08-21 11:39:05