Mi-28 attack helicopter
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Is the Russian Mi-28 really strong to compete with the American AH-64?


Although Mi-28 Havoxc classified as a heavy attack helicopter, Russia’s Mi-28 is still struggling to find a place to compete with the US AH-64 Apache helicopter.

The US AH-64 has performed excellently both in combat and in the export market, while the Russian Mi-28 has only Iraqi and Algerian customers. The idea that Mi-28 would be chosen by India, however, in the end, India choose the AH-64D of the US.

Mi-28 is also a line of attack helicopters with a long development time when the first flight appeared in 1982, but it was not until 2009 that the version capable of day and night combat entered service.

After having an unimpressive first field trip in the Syrian battlefield, Russia has continued to upgrade to produce the Mi-28NM version.

Currently, in Russia’s official payroll, there is a Mi-28A version that is only capable of daytime combat, this version is not appreciated; Mi-28N is a version capable of fighting in all weather conditions including night and the upgraded version of Mi-28NM has only been commissioned in small numbers.

Russian Mi-28N/NM/UB Night Hunter attack helicopter | Thai Military and  Asian Region

To be fair, the Mi-28 is a line of heavy attack helicopters capable of delivering devastating blows to the enemy. However, the Mi-28 did not live up to expectations when it was designed to replace the Mi-24s. In the Syrian battlefield, the Mi-28N did not even prove to be superior to the Mi-24. This made many Russian generals criticize the developer.

Perhaps that is why the manufacturer Mil bet on the Mi-28NM version. Compared to its predecessor, although there are not many major changes in appearance except for the nose, the changes brought from the inside have helped this aircraft achieve high combat performance.

Weapons analysts said that with the introduction of the Mi-28NM version, the attack helicopter line was enough to match the latest US AH-64E version.

There has been information that the Mi-28NM has been secretly brought to Syria by Russia to test fire to evaluate its combat performance and obtain positive results. It was from this real combat test that Russia quickly decided to put the Mi-28NM into mass production.

In terms of structure, the cockpit of the Mi-28NM is reinforced more firmly, with an air-conditioning system, with additional protective armor, including a metal front windshield that is resistant to 12 bullets, 7 mm.

The cabin has an additional layer of glass that separates the compartment between the two pilots, minimizing the possibility of the main pilot and the gunner dying at the same time from enemy fire. The alloy frame of the Mi-28NM is able to withstand 20mm anti-aircraft shells.

With the design model applied on the Mi-28NM, for the first time the principle of separating the cockpit between the main pilot and the Gunner has been applied.

Mi-28NM attack helicopter
Mi-28NM attack helicopter

In the event of an emergency when the plane is above 100 m above the ground, the crew can parachute to escape when the plane crashes and crashes. The emergency exit system will be activated by the main pilot and the gunner separately.

According to Mr. Dmitry Litovkin, CEO of Independent Military Review, Mi-28NM is an attack helicopter version with enhanced tactical features, especially combat power. The helicopter is equipped with high-precision weapons, has a new control system integrated with artificial intelligence (AI). Mi-28NM is compatible to join the battle formation with helicopters, UAVs and other aircraft on the battlefield.

In terms of firepower, the Mi-28NM heavy attack helicopter is equipped with a variety of powerful weapons systems, including new-generation multipurpose missiles and various bombs. The helicopter can attack stationary and moving targets within a radius of 8-10 km.

Mi-28NM has a new LSN-296 aiming system, which can control two of Russia’s most powerful anti-tank missiles today, Khrizantema and Vikhr.

HMD NSTsI-V for Mi-28N
HMD NSTsI-V for Mi-28N

The helicopter is fitted with a helmet-mounted target identification and indication system to project images onto the visor and to determine the direction of proliferation automatically. An optical-electronic system is used to process the information collected by the helmet system. It is also used for observation, navigation and fire control tasks.

Mi-28NM is equipped with Nadterechny Н025 radar as well as a new generation of aiming and guidance complexes, including a control system for landing in dark and foggy conditions, which helps to improve combat efficiency. almost twice that of its predecessor.

In the design of the new Mi-28NM, the position of the radar transceiver remains above the main rotor of the helicopter. In addition to the upgraded avionics and body frame, the other difference is that the propeller of the Mi-28NM uses composite materials to make the helicopter more stable.

Mi-28NE VK-2500 turboshaft engines
Mi-28NE VK-2500 turboshaft engines

The Mi-28NE Night Hunter is powered by two VK-2500 turboshaft engines manufactured by Klimov. Each engine generates a maximum take-off power of 2,200hp. Thanks to powerful engine of Mi-28 the helicopter can climb at a rate of 13.6m/s and has a service ceiling of 5,600m. The cruise and maximum speeds are 270km/h and 300km/h respectively, while the range is about 435km.

In addition, Mi-28NM is also equipped with a suicide drone. Helicopters can enter a predefined combat area and launch one or more drones from the cockpit. Once the target has been identified, the crew will report the data and monitor the kill launch process.

Mi-28NM is capable of operating in all weather conditions, can fly in both automatic and manned modes, and is adaptable to all types of terrain.

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One of the most practical improvements in the Mi-28NM is the crew’s “double control” mode. In the event that the main pilot is injured or killed, the pilot can still control the helicopter.

Another improvement is that Mi-28NM is equipped with an additional radar system on the cockpit, capable of scanning around the aircraft, with a scanning angle of up to 90 degrees horizontally and 44 degrees vertically, helping detect and locate multiple targets at the same time.

With such top-notch features, Russia’s Mi-28NM is expected to create a breakthrough in the combat capabilities of the Russian military as well as in the export market.

Mi-28 full specification
Mi-28 full specification

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