The Mil Mi-28A/N attack helicopter is the Russian equivalent of the American Apache helicopter. Developed as a successor of the famous Mi-24 Hind, the Mi-28, known to NATO as Havoc, is a tandem two-seat helicopter optimized for the anti-tank role. This is Russia’s latest gunship.
Work on the new helicopter began in the early 70’s. Inspired by the Hind, the Havoc was a much smaller helicopter with optimized performance to better suit the hunter-killer anti-tank role. In this regard Russian engineers decided to use the knowledge gained with the Mi-24 Hind. It was decided to remove the bulky cabin of the Hind to ensure a low profile and a hard to detect helicopter. As a result the new helicopter was faster and more maneuverable than the Hind.
First flights were made in the early 80’s but by then the Russian Air Force had decided to field the more capable Kamov Ka-50, Havoc’s rival. The project was not abandoned and development carried out at a slower pace. In 1988 a new prototype fitted with an X-tail rotor configuration and new engines took to the sky for the first time. One year later the Mil Mi-28A prototype made its debut at the Paris Air Show. This version too was cancelled because it wasn’t an all-weather machine.
The engineers at the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant did not quit and in August 1996 the Mil Mi-28N Night Havoc was rolled out. Offering all-weather capability as well as a lower cost of operation than the Ka-50 it was quicly to be adopted by the Russian Air Force. In April 2004 the first production Mi-28N made its maiden flight and the Russian Air Force began testing the new helicopter in June 2005.
The Night Havoc retains most of the structural characteristics of the initial prototypes. It is however fitted with a new electronic combat system, new main gearbox and new high-efficiency blades with swept-shaped tips. The radar mounted in a round cover above the main rotor makes the Havoc look even more similar with the longbow Apache. With a fully armoured cabin that includes the windshield, a top speed greater than 300 km/h and an array of impressive air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, unguided rockets and bombs as well as podded guns this is surely on mean attack helicopter. The Russian Air Force plans to purchase 67 Mil Mi-28 Night Havoc with 16 waiting to be delivered in 2008, the rest of the helicopters are to enter service by 2015.
Mi-28N Night Havoc specifications
Principal Dimensions 16.85m x 4.81m
Main Rotor Diameter 17.2m
Length with Revolving Rotors 21.16m
Normal Take-Off Weight 10,500kg
Maximum Take-Off Weight 11,500kg
Weight of Normal Consumable Combat Load 638kg
Maximum Weight of Consumable Combat Load 1,605kg
Empty Weight 7,890kg
Maximum Flight Speed 324km/h
Cruise Speed 265km/h
Hovering Ceiling 3,700m
Service Ceiling 5,750m
Range of Flight at Normal Take-Off Weight 460km
Ferry Range with Drop Tanks Attached 1,105km
2 x TV3-117VMA, each providing 2,200hp
Missiles Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
Radio-Guided, Launch Range 8km
Movable Gun Mount Caliber 30mm
Air-Launched Rockets, Quantity 80 Caliber 80mm
Air-Launched Rockets, Quantity 20 Caliber 130mm