With multi-role attack helicopters capable of transporting such as the Mi-35M, the armies that own them can deploy quick responses in emergency situations.
It has been nearly five decades since being operated in 1972, the Mi-24 “flying tanks” are still seen in the fiercest battlefields, and it is still evolving. In the framework of the MAKS-2019 aviation exhibition, Russian Helicopter Company introduced a new upgraded version of the Mi-24 attack helicopter, designated Mi-24P-1M. The new helicopter version is integrated with advanced electronic equipment, which is expected to deliver superior combat performance. But that is in the future, for now the Mi-24 and its variants continue to roam in the fiercest battlefields. One of its most famous and popular variants is the Mi-35M, also known as the Hind-E.
The Mi-35M was first revealed in 1999. This is a deep upgrade from the Mi-24 helicopter series for export purposes. Compared to the Mi-24, the Mi-35M’s shape has not changed much, but the actual battlefield has shown that the performance of the Mi-35 is even better than the Mi-28. On the Syrian battlefield, the Mi-35 attack helicopter was effective against terrorists.
Basically, the Mi-35M attack helicopter retains most of the Mi-24 series design and function. This is the only helicopter series of among specialized attack helicopters that can handle the task of carrying troops or medical evacuation, while the main task of carrying out combat operations. The helicopter has an overall length of 21.6m, wingspan of 6.5m and height of 6.5m. Its maximum takeoff weight is 12 tons and can carry up to eight troops or the equivalent load of 2.4 tons.
The Mi-35M has several improvements over the original version, including new, more powerful engines. The metal rotor was replaced by a composite one, the 3-bladed anti-torque rotor was replaced by an X-shaped composite one. The main rotor’s fiberglass blades have a new aerodynamic configuration, which is lighter but more powerful due to the important parts reinforced with titanium material. The cockpit and vital components of the helicopter are significantly armoured. The Mi-35M was fitted fixed landing gear and new shorter stub wings, only four weaponry mounting points.
The weapon itself has also been updated: A 4-barreled 12.7mm machine gun in the chin-mounted rotating turret is now replaced by a twin-barreled 23-mm GSh-23L autocannon. The gun has 450 to 470 rounds of ammunition, the rate of fire can be up to 3,400 to 3,600 rounds per minute. Like other attack helicopters, the Mi-35M’s stub wings can carry a range of weapons systems, including anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers, or fuel tanks. The helicopter can be equipped with up to eight 9M114 or 9M120 Ataka-V SACLOS radio-guided anti-tank missiles, 80 S-8 unguided rockets and 20 S-13 unguided aircraft rockets. In general, firearms depend on customers’ requirements.
The glass cockpit of the Mi-35M accommodates two pilots in tandem configuration. Electronic core of the helicopter underwent fundamental modifications. A whole spectrum of new electronic systems were adopted in the cockpit. Like other modernized versions of the Mi-24, Mi-35M is equipped with an OPS-24N surveillance-and-sighting station for night fighting, featuring laser range finder, thermal imager, satellite positioning and navigation system, electronic multifunction displays, onboard computer and new generation jam-proof communications equipment.
The countermeasures suite of Mi-35M includes a radar warning receiver, a laser range finder and a location finder, chaff and flare launch system, infrared jamming system and engine-exhaust infrared suppressor.
The engine has also been upgraded, the military helicopter is powered by two ТVЗ-117VМА or VK-2500 engines. Each engine develops a maximum power output of 2,200 hp. Thanks to these changes, the performance of Mi-35M increased significantly, such as altitude and maneuverability. The helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 310 km/h, the service ceiling is 5,400m. The usual operating range is 460 km and can be up to 1,000 km when needed with full fuel load.
In addition to carrying an arsenal like a conventional attack helicopter, the Mi-35M as well as the Russian Mi-24 multi-role attack helicopter series is also known for having a passenger compartment, up to 8 Soldiers with full equipment. This passenger compartment is considered to be the most unique feature of the Mi-35 helicopter, it can easily land troops to perform lightning missions on the battlefield. It can also perform medical evacuation missions if necessary, an impossible task for Western attack helicopters.
Interestingly, US AH-64 Apache helicopters can also transport troops. When forced to carry out transport tasks, soldiers must sit next to the engine, outside the plane, covered only by ropes. Although the soldiers would not be interested in “circus game” outside the plane, but in emergency situations, they have no other choice.
Like its brethren, the Mi-35M is optimized for combat missions in various geographical areas, from complex mountainous terrain to hot and harsh desert. It has the ability to fight around the clock to perform missions. It is also capable of operating from unprepared and poorly equipped airports.
Production of the Mi-35M began in 2005. To date, the Mi-35M remains one of the modern attack helicopters in the Russian Air Force’s inventory. It is also operated by the armed forces of Venezuela, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Mali and some other countries.
Most recently, sources quoted Serbian Defense Minister, Alexanderar Vulin, as saying that four Mi-35Ms and three Mi-17s will be handed over to the Serbian air force by Russia in the first quarter of 2020. In early 2020, the Mi-35M helicopter made its first appearance on the national television of Uzbekistan along with many other modern helicopters. According to information from the Uzbek media, Mi-35M attack helicopters started joining the army in late 2019.
Equipped with multi-role attack helicopters capable of transporting such as the Mi-35M, the armies that own them can deploy quick responses in emergency situations.
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