Russia has reacted to reports that Ukraine expects delivery of Western tanks and has begun to show it by preparing the sophisticated missile-laden attack helicopters after news of future tank supplies to Ukraine.
One of the upgraded Mi-28NM helicopters was spotted over Ukraine on January 14, days before the decision was made to deliver tanks to Kyiv. This version was first used in combat in Syria about five years ago.
Apparently, Russia is impressed with this helicopter since it has ordered 100 units from the manufacturer with the utmost urgency. They should enter service in 2027. The Mi-28NM has been seen in Ukraine equipped with a new weapon: the 9M120 anti-tank guided missile nicknamed Ataka.
What do we know about the Mi-28NM?
The new cabin is airtight, air-conditioned, and has armor protection [including frontal armored glass that can withstand 12.7mm bullets]. And armored partitions between crew members minimize the chance of simultaneous death for both pilots. The hull armor can resist bullets up to 20mm.
For the first time, the two crew members are separated in this type of helicopter: the pilot and the operator-navigator.
The crew can jump with a parachute in an emergency situation at the height of more than 100 m. When falling from a height of less than 100 m, the impact energy is compensated by the deformation of the landing gear and special shock-absorbing seats. Power for the pilots. The pilot and the aircraft operator can activate the emergency ejection system separately.
For the crew’s safety in the event of an accident, the cabin doors are removed and evacuation stairs are inflated through which the pilots leave the helicopter. In addition, there is an additional compartment with two or three places for the emergency evacuation of the crew of crashed helicopters.
Mi-28NM in combat conditions
“The Mi-28NM is the latest modification of the Mi-28N. Its capabilities have been expanded, including maneuverability. The device can use high-precision weapons and has a new control system with elements of artificial intelligence.
According to a Russian specialist named Dmitry Litovkin, the Mi-28NM can work in the formation and immediately interact with other helicopters, drones, and flying vehicles while deployed on the battlefield.
In the helicopter’s armament, there are also kamikaze drones. “The Mi-28NM enters a certain area and launches one or several drones controlled by the helicopter. When enemy objects are detected, the crew issues firing instructions and supervises the removal of the objects”, explains the expert.
The rotorcraft can take off and land manually or automatically and operate in clear, cloudy skies. One of the important changes for the pilots of the Mi-28NM is dual control; when in case of injury or death of the pilot, the helicopter can be controlled by the navigator. In the Mi-28N, there is no such system.
Combat systems for all times
The set allows the use of weapons at any time and in any weather condition, offering the possibility of group use of helicopters in battle, with the distribution of targets between them, as well as with the exchange of information on targets between helicopters and command posts. Air or ground command.
The rotorcraft’s pilot acts as an integral part of the helicopter’s control structure. Devices and systems provide him with a comprehensive picture of the battlefield scenario.
The Mi-28NM also has a new localizer [onboard radar] that provides a circular view [located in a spherical fairing on the main rotor axis]. It allows scanning of airspace in a range of 90 degrees [horizontal] and 44 degrees [vertical] and detects multiple targets without unmasking the helicopter.
It also includes a high-frequency inertial navigation system that makes it possible to determine the helicopter’s location, speed, heading, and other parameters, an onboard diagnostic system, multifunctional color indicators, and equipment for interaction with UAVs. All onboard equipment controls are integrated into a single system.
The Russian Mi-28NM helicopter has been seen in Ukraine with a 9M120 Ataka missile hidden under its wings. Its original design dates back to the 1980s. The Russian Air Force values it especially for its long-range, up to 25 km. The 9M120 Ataka has passed actual combat and state tests in Syria.