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Russia invests in modernization of Mi-24 helicopter

Russia’s aerospace industry is continuing modernizing the Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name: Hind) combat-transport rotorcraft, according to the state corporation Rostec.

Russia invests in modernization of Mi 24 helicopter The MI-24P-1M Demonstrator helicopter, displayed at MAKS 2019 (Picture source: Air Recognition)

Despite its age, the Hind remains a very robust and cost-effective air platform that could easily be upgraded with cutting-edge sensors and sophisticated subsystems. At the 14th International Aerospace Show (MAKS 2019) held in Zhukovskiy near Moscow between August 27 and September 1, JSC KRET (Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies), a Rostec’s subsidiary, presented a new variant of the Mi-24P (Hind-E) upgrade that was designated Mi-24P-1M. According to the press department of Rostec, the modernized rotorcraft has been fitted with a number of modern subsystems, including a navigation-and-targeting device, optical-electronic observation-and-sighting unit, optionally mounted radar with an active electronically scanned array (AESA), autopilot, onboard protection suite, and new power supply subsystem. The modernization has reduced the helicopter’s empty weight by 430 kg (however, the platform’s weight depends on the configuration of an upgraded rotorcraft). "The helicopter’s armament suite has been reinforced with various guided missiles," said the Rostec’s press department, adding that the combat effectiveness of the updated gunship does not fall short of that of the cutting-edge combat helicopters.

"The new modification [of the Hind], Mi-24P-1M, developed by KRET and the Russian Helicopters [a subsidiary of Rostec] holding features improved technical and combat performance, which spark a larger interest of customers," said Director for Industry of Rostec’s aviation cluster Anatoly Serdyukov.

According to KRET, the Mi-24P-1M combat-transport helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 11,500 kg and can transport a 1,500 kg payload in its troop/cargo compartment and a 2,400 kg payload on a sling. The gunship produces a cruise speed of 280 km/h and a top speed of 320 km/h. The air platform is designed to provide fire support on the battlefield; the helicopter has also retained its capability to transport troops and up to two wounded soldiers on stretchers.

The Mi-24P-1M seems to be a comprehensive modernization of the venerable Mi-24P, which comprises sophisticated electronics, including an AESA radar. Owing to the modular structure of the upgrade, the rotorcraft can be reconfigured to meet a customer’s requirements in terms of cost-effectiveness. It should be mentioned that, despite all upgrades, the modernized air platform has retained its side-mounted GSh-30K 30 mm twin-barrel automatic cannon. "We have updated approximately 90% of the organic avionics suite. The flight and combat performance of the upgraded helicopter have been tripled [compared to the baseline platform]," Advisor to KRET’s First Deputy Director Vladimir Mikheev said at the MAKS 2019 aerospace show.

The Russian Helicopters also offers its variant of the Hind’s modernization. The rotorcraft upgraded by the holding is designated Mi-35P. The platform broke cover at the previous year’s Army international military-technical forum held in Kubinka near Moscow on August 21-26, 2018.

In fact, the Mi-35P is a less expensive variant of the Mi-35M (Hind-E) combat-transport helicopter. According to the manufacturer, the modernized rotary-wing aircraft has been fitted with the OPS-24N-1L sighting system that incorporates a 3rd-generation longwave matrix thermal imager, TV camera, and laser rangefinder. The updated platform’s cockpit has received the KNEI-24E-1 flight-navigation system with multifunctional displays. Owing to the installation of a new targeting device, the Mi-35P can fire the 9M120 Ataka (AT-9 ‘Spiral-2’) anti-tank guided missiles. Unlike the Mi-24P-1M, the rotorcraft upgraded by the Russian Helicopters carries the chin-mounted NPPU-23 rotating turret with a GSh-23L 23 mm twin-barrel automatic cannon.

According to the holding, the Mi-35P combat-transport helicopter has a flight range of 450 km and a dynamic ceiling of 4,500 m. The platform is powered by two TV3-117VMA engines with a power output of 2,225 hp each, producing a cruise speed of 260 km/h and a top speed of 335 km/h.

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