On the battlefield today, modern combat vehicles increasingly demonstrate its superiority. Attack helicopters have long been the standard for many militaries. For the Russians, the Mi-28 attack helicopter is the backbone of this army.
Leading US defense experts have also made good assessments of the power of this attack helicopter. Even when comparing the Mi-28 with similar Western weapons, it has many outstanding advantages.
Accordingly, Mi-28 has strong firepower, maneuverability and high survivability. Especially the next generation Mi-28N, which is appreciated by the military experts. It is considered one of the best attack helicopters currently available.
The Mil Mi-28, known by the NATO codename Havoc. It is a modern combat helicopter able to destroy armoured and unarmoured combat material, low and slow flying airborne vehicles and other battlefield targets. The Mi-28 is developed in the Soviet Union and the Russia in the 1980s to 2000s by Mil. The first flight was conducted on 10 November 1982 and entered into service in 2008.
The story of the Mi-28 began in 1972, after completing Mil Mi-24, the Soviet Union requested the development of a high-performance attack helicopter. Its intended role was to fight against enemy tanks and helicopters and include helicopter landing operations.
The design work on the Mi-28 began under Marat Tishchenko in 1980, two prototypes were completed and the trial phase was completed in 1984. But in October 1984 the Soviet Air Force chose the more advanced Kamov Ka-50 as the new anti-tank helicopter, Mi-28 development continued, but given lower priority.
The Mi-28A was first launched at the Paris Air Show in June 1989, but later the Mi-28A program was canceled because it was deemed uncompetitive with the Ka-50, in particular it was not all-weather capable.
Mi-28N Night Havoc
In August 1996 Mil rolled out a prototype of the day and night capable version, the Mi-28N Night Havoc. The first production Mi-28N took its first flight in April 2004 and began flight testing with the Russian Air Force in June 2005.
The first serial Mi-28N was delivered to the Army on 5 June 2006. By 2015, 67 Mi-28Ns were planned to be purchased, when the Mi-24 was to be completely replaced.
Mil also developed an export variant of the Mi-28N, designated Mi-28NE, and a simpler day helicopter variant, the Mi-28D, based on the Mi-28N design, but without radar and forward looking infrared system.
Currently a total of nearly 70 improved Mi-28N attack helicopters are in service with the Russian Army. The type is being actively marketed for export customers.
Mi-28 Havoc design
The design of this helicopter is similar to well-known older battle helicopter Mi-24 Hind. The pilot and the navigator officer are accommodated in two separate cockpits in tandem configuration under individual canopies.
The fuselage of the Mi-28 has a bay fitted with a hatch door. The bay can accommodate three people for the rescue of downed friendly air crew.
The main rotor head has elastomeric bearings and the main rotor blades are made from composite materials. The tail rotor is designed on a biplane configuration, with independently controlled X-shaped blades.
The helicopter has non-retractable tricycle tailwheel type landing gear. The energy absorbing landing gear and energy absorbing seats protect the crew in a crash landing or in a low-altitude vertical fall.
The crew are able to survive a vertical fall up to 12 metres per second. When the helicopters altitude allows parachute operation, the crew can bail out in an emergency. If the choice is made to bail out then it is possible to jettison the wings and cabin doors in order to remove any obstruction which could otherwise be caused by the protruding parts of the helicopter.
The Mi-28 has a fully armoured cabin, including the windshield, which withstands impact by 7.62mm and 12.7mm bullets and 20mm shell fragments.
The Night Havoc helicopter retains most of the structural design of the Mi-28. The main difference is the installation of an integrated electronic combat system. Other modifications include the main gearbox for transmitting higher power to the rotor; new design of high efficiency blades with swept- shaped tips; an engine fuel injection control system for high power operating modes.
Sensor and Armament
The main sensors of the integrated electronic combat system are the microwave radar antenna mounted above the rotor head and a forward looking infrared system. The helicopter is able to hover under cover with just the radar head looking over trees, buildings or high ground.
The integrated combat system uses onboard processing to display the helicopter location on a moving map indicator, and to show the flight, systems and target information on the cockpit liquid crystal displays. The crew are equipped with night vision goggles. The pilots are able to perform nap of the earth flight missions in day or night conditions and in adverse weather.
The Mi-28 is equipped with a 30 mm Shipunov 2A42 autocannon housed in a turret under the nose. Twin 150-round ammunition boxes are co-mounted to traverse, elevate and depress together with the gun. So a total of 300 rounds of ammunition are carried for the main gun.
One common Mi-28 armament are a pair of 8 Ataka missile racks along with 2 B-13L rocket pods, each able to carry 5 S-13 rockets. Other rocket options include two B-8 rocket pods, each able to carry 20 S-8 rockets.
The Ataka missile’s guidance is by narrow radar beam, and maximum range of the missile is 8km. The missile has a tandem shaped-charge warhead for penetration of 950mm to 1,000mm armour.
The Mi-28 can also carry the IR guided R-73 air-to-air missiles, the Kh-25 air-to-surface missiles as well as up to 500 kg aerial bombs. Pilots can use night vision goggles and a helmet-mounted target designation system and display. All controls are on-board equipment integrated into a single system.
Russia was to develop and test a prototype Mi-28 with next generation attack helicopter features by 2017. This improved version is named Mi-28NM and has been in development since 2008.
Specific characteristics are not known, but may include a low radar signature, extended range, advanced weapons control systems, air-to-air engagement capability, and increased top speed of 600 km/h. The variant includes a new helmet imaging and targeting system designed to display visual information for aiming at targets in any field of view.
Russia is still the main operator of Mi-28 Havoc. Export versions have been provided to a number of interested countries including North Korea, Iraq and possibly India, Algeria and Venezuela.
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