Hip swings into trials for Russian SF
Flight tests have begun in Russia of the Mi-8AMTSh-VN Hip helicopter to determine its aerodynamic and flight performance characteristics.
Tests will also assess the maneuverability, stability and manageability of the rotorcraft, as well as the reliability and efficiency of its weapon systems and defensive equipment.
After the first phase of the trials finishes in November 2020, ‘the helicopter will be assessed by specialised state institutes and flight centres’, said Andrey Boginsky, general director of manufacturer Russian Helicopters.
The helicopter is designed for transport and fire support roles with Russian SF, as a protected all-weather aircraft capable of performing night missions.
Based on the experience of combat operations in Syria, significant improvements include modernised engines, avionics and armour protection; enhanced armament; and additional anti-aircraft missile defence equipment.
The new-look Hip also has an improved main rotor with all-composite blades and a more efficient X-shaped tail rotor. In combination with more powerful VK-2500PS-03 engines, this enabled a higher thrust-to-weight ratio and better manoeuvrability.
According to industry sources, the flight speed is increased by 10% - even in high mountains and hot conditions - in comparison with the Mi-8AMTSh model.
Russian Helicopters has paid particular attention to enhancing combat survivability in comparison with other helicopters in the Mi-8/17 family. As a result, the Mi-8AMTSh-VN is equipped with the LSZ-8VN self-protection system with missile approach warners; laser jammers; and countermeasure dispensers with automatic control.
The cockpit is covered with titanium alloy armour, affording ballistic protection against small arms fire. The floor and sides of the troop compartment are protected with lightweight removable Kevlar armour. Mi-8AMTSh-VN can carry 20 troops with equipment plus a light vehicle or a quad bike.
Mi-8AMTSh-VN is armed with six weapon pods and two 12.7mm Kord machine guns for close fire support. The helicopter can be armed flexibly armed according to its mission.
In the most heavily armed configuration, it can carry up to four new Hermes-A missiles with a range of up to 20km plus up to eight 9M120 Ataka ATGMs with different warheads including tandem charge, high-explosive and thermobaric. In fact, the offensive capability is very close to that of an attack helicopter.
Importantly for the Russian MoD, it regards the Mi-8AMTSh-VN as an affordable and readily available solution. At the same time, the new helicopter represents a major modernisation of the veteran Mi-8/Mi-17 families. Taking into account the rapid progress of the military technology and the changing nature of warfare, it is easy to see why Russian SF wanted a new platform.
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