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Warplanes: Mi-28 Replacing Mi-24
   Next Article → SURFACE FORCES : An LCS Grows in Germany
October 31, 2007: Russia has decided to replace its 250 Mi-24 helicopter gunships with 300 of the more recent Mi-28s. The Mi-24 is a twelve ton chopper based on the Mi-8/17 transport. The U.S. did the same thing with the AH-1, developing it from the UH-1 "Huey." But rather than adopt the two seater (one pilot behind the other) approach of the AH-1 and AH-64 Apache, the Mi24 could still carry troops or cargo in the back, and was not as nimble as the AH-1. The 11 ton Mi28 looks more like the AH-64. That's because, by the end of the 1960s, the Russians realized that the AH-1 design was superior.

 

For several years, there has been intense completion, to decide which of its two new helicopter gunship designs (the Ka-50 and Mi-28N) to standardize on. The latest decision is supposed to settle the matter. About 50 Mi-28s are to be bought in the next three years, with all 300 in service five years after that.

 

The Mi-28N is a more capable helicopter, costing about the same as the earlier AH-64A ($15 million each). But the Ka-50 is not only cheaper, but quite a good design as well. The Russians know that their weapons sell much better when a rock bottom price is offered.

 

The Mi-28N "Night Hunter" is an all weather; night attack version of the 1980s era Mi-28A, with added FLIR (night vision sensor), night fighting optics and a two man crew. The basic Mi-28 is a 11.6 ton helicopter that can carry 1.6 tons of rockets and missiles. The aircraft also has a 30mm cannon. The cockpit for the two man crew is armored, and the helicopter has missile countermeasures (chaff and flares), GPS, head up display, laser designator and other gadgets. The Mi-28N has a top speed of 300 kilometers an hour and a one way range of 1,100 kilometers. It can carry up to 16 anti-tank missiles (with a range of up to eight kilometers). The helicopter can also carry 80mm rockets, bombs or fuel for additional range. The Mi-28 has been around in small quantities for two decades, but the Mi-28N is the most advanced model, on a par with the American AH-64D gunship (which is a little lighter.) The first version of the Mi-28N was shown in 1996, although the manufacturer, Mil, wasn't ready to offer for sale until 2004.

 

Next Article → SURFACE FORCES : An LCS Grows in Germany