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Russia's rotorcraft industry turns 70: How the historic helicopter sector took off

September 20, 12:44 UTC+3

On September 20, 1948, the first Soviet-made mass-produced helicopter Mi-1 made its first flight

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Mi-1 helicopter. It was the first Soviet helicopter to enter serial production.  More than 1,000 were built in the USSR and 1,594 in Poland, as SM-1
Mi-1 helicopter. It was the first Soviet helicopter to enter serial production.  More than 1,000 were built in the USSR and 1,594 in Poland, as SM-1
Mi-1 helicopter. It was the first Soviet helicopter to enter serial production. More than 1,000 were built in the USSR and 1,594 in Poland, as SM-1
© Anatoly Kuzyarin/TASS
Mi-8 helicopter. Mi-8 is used as a transport helicopter, an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. It is among the world's most-produced helicopters, used by 92 countries
Mi-8 helicopter. Mi-8 is used as a transport helicopter, an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. It is among the world's most-produced helicopters, used by 92 countries
Mi-8 helicopter. Mi-8 is used as a transport helicopter, an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. It is among the world's most-produced helicopters, used by 92 countries
© Marina Lystseva/TASS
Mi-10, a Soviet military transport helicopter of flying crane configuration, developed from the Mi-6, entering service in 1963
Mi-10, a Soviet military transport helicopter of flying crane configuration, developed from the Mi-6, entering service in 1963
Mi-10, a Soviet military transport helicopter of flying crane configuration, developed from the Mi-6, entering service in 1963
© Sergei Preobrazhenskiy/TASS
Mi-12 heavy-lift helicopter, the largest helicopter ever built
Mi-12 heavy-lift helicopter, the largest helicopter ever built
Mi-12 heavy-lift helicopter, the largest helicopter ever built
© Marina Lystseva/TASS
Mi-14 shore-based nuclear-capable amphibious anti-submarine helicopter derived from the earlier Mi-8. All Mi-14 helicopters were decommissioned in 1996, but In 2016, Russian Helicopters said that the helicopter's production may be revived
Mi-14 shore-based nuclear-capable amphibious anti-submarine helicopter derived from the earlier Mi-8. All Mi-14 helicopters were decommissioned in 1996, but In 2016, Russian Helicopters said that the helicopter's production may be revived
Mi-14 shore-based nuclear-capable amphibious anti-submarine helicopter derived from the earlier Mi-8. All Mi-14 helicopters were decommissioned in 1996, but In 2016, Russian Helicopters said that the helicopter's production may be revived
© Roman Denisov/TASS
Mi-24 attack helicopter. It has been operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force and its successors, along with more than 45 other nations. Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the "flying tank"
Mi-24 attack helicopter. It has been operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force and its successors, along with more than 45 other nations. Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the "flying tank"
Mi-24 attack helicopter. It has been operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force and its successors, along with more than 45 other nations. Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the "flying tank"
© TASS
Mi-26 heavy lift cargo helicopter. Operated by both military and civilian operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter to have gone into series production
Mi-26 heavy lift cargo helicopter. Operated by both military and civilian operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter to have gone into series production
Mi-26 heavy lift cargo helicopter. Operated by both military and civilian operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter to have gone into series production
© Marina Lystseva/TASS
Mi-PSV (prospective high speed helicopter) is experimental helicopter based on the Mi-24. A Mi-24LL PSV demonstrator flew at speed of 405 km/h during recent tests
Mi-PSV (prospective high speed helicopter) is experimental helicopter based on the Mi-24. A Mi-24LL PSV demonstrator flew at speed of 405 km/h during recent tests
Mi-PSV (prospective high speed helicopter) is experimental helicopter based on the Mi-24. A Mi-24LL PSV demonstrator flew at speed of 405 km/h during recent tests
© Ladislav Karpov/TASS
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Mi-1 helicopter. It was the first Soviet helicopter to enter serial production. More than 1,000 were built in the USSR and 1,594 in Poland, as SM-1
© Anatoly Kuzyarin/TASS
Mi-8 helicopter. Mi-8 is used as a transport helicopter, an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. It is among the world's most-produced helicopters, used by 92 countries
© Marina Lystseva/TASS
Mi-10, a Soviet military transport helicopter of flying crane configuration, developed from the Mi-6, entering service in 1963
© Sergei Preobrazhenskiy/TASS
Mi-12 heavy-lift helicopter, the largest helicopter ever built
© Marina Lystseva/TASS
Mi-14 shore-based nuclear-capable amphibious anti-submarine helicopter derived from the earlier Mi-8. All Mi-14 helicopters were decommissioned in 1996, but In 2016, Russian Helicopters said that the helicopter's production may be revived
© Roman Denisov/TASS
Mi-24 attack helicopter. It has been operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force and its successors, along with more than 45 other nations. Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the "flying tank"
© TASS
Mi-26 heavy lift cargo helicopter. Operated by both military and civilian operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter to have gone into series production
© Marina Lystseva/TASS
Mi-PSV (prospective high speed helicopter) is experimental helicopter based on the Mi-24. A Mi-24LL PSV demonstrator flew at speed of 405 km/h during recent tests
© Ladislav Karpov/TASS

On September 20, 1948, the first Soviet-made mass-produced helicopter Mi-1 made its first flight. It entered service in 1950 and was produced for 16 years. More than 1,000 were built in the USSR and 1,594 in Poland, as SM-1. The Mil Design Bureau became one of the world's leading developers of helicopters, with particular expertise in heavy-lift helicopters. Ninety-five percent of the helicopters in the former Soviet Union were built to Mil designs. Mil merged with Kamov and Rostvertol to form Russian Helicopters in 2006. See the most unique Mil helicopters.

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