MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. The latest Mil Mi-28NM attack helicopter has received next-generation missile and rocket armament, Chief Designer of the Combat Helicopters Program at the Mil and Kamov National Helicopter Center (part of the Russian Helicopters Group within the state tech corporation Rostec) Vitaly Shcherbina told TASS on Tuesday.
"In the course of joint work, we focused on expanding the range of air-launched weapons of the helicopter’s airborne armament as the basic area of improving Mi-28N baseline helicopters. For the purpose of solving this task, the airborne armament of the Mi-28NM embraced next-generation round-the-clock missiles, including multirole munitions allowing the gunship to strike targets without entering the area of the enemy’s effective air defenses, and also next-generation rockets of a broad range of their employment and enhanced capacity, as well as bombing weapons of various caliber," he said.
The Mi-28NM attack helicopter’s integration into the single information and reconnaissance digital space on the battlefield boosts the gunship’s combat efficiency, the chief designer stressed.
"In this case, the helicopters operate as part of a reconnaissance and strike system and are capable of automatically getting updated information on the enemy and the combat environment in the designated area through information networks from reconnaissance systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles," Shcherbina said.
A new light multipurpose missile has proven its worth in the course of its operation, the chief designer stressed.
"The trials of the Mi-28NM helicopter armed with new multi-functional missiles have confirmed the armament’s high efficiency. Employing the missile as part of the system of information support from a reconnaissance drone and an automated command post created by the Mil and Kamov National Helicopter Center on its own initiative is an important area of boosting the missile’s efficiency," Shcherbina said.
"The comprehensive use of this missile together with the sources of information on the enemy and the combat environment in the designated area will allow the crew to deal with the issues of optimizing the characteristics of a flight to the area of combat employment in real time, namely to choose the parameters of launching an attack on a target (the path, speed and altitude of the helicopter’s flight and the level of firing a missile) in the automated mode," the chief designer said.
The gun armament of the Mi-28NM attack helicopter has also been upgraded, he said. "Quite a large amount of work was carried out on the Mi-28NM to reduce the gun assembly’s weight and dimensional characteristics and the drive control is now digital and more reliable," Shcherbina noted.
The Mi-28NM gunship performed its debut flight on October 12, 2016 and is an upgraded version of the Mi-28N combat helicopter. The Mi-28NM has a dual control system. As compared to the Mi-28N where the operator in the front cabin was limited in piloting capabilities, the upgraded version offers the possibility of its full-fledged control from any cabin.
The new gunship has received a mast-mounted radar, a new sighting and piloting navigation system and an improved radar station. The Russian Helicopters Group announced on June 27, 2019 that it had signed a contract with Russia’s Defense Ministry on the delivery of 98 Mi-28NM attack helicopters to the troops in 2020-2027.
Mi-28NM gunship capable of interacting with kamikaze drones
The latest Mi-28NM attack helicopter is capable of interacting with kamikaze drones, the chief designer said.
"The inclusion of kamikaze drones in the gunship’s airborne armament is one of the areas of interaction between Mi-28NMs and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]," Shcherbina said.
Based on this scheme, a Mi-28NM attack helicopter can launch one or several kamikaze drones from its board when it enters the designated area, the chief designed explained.
"Upon detecting enemy targets, the helicopter’s crew issues target acquisition and exercises control of their destruction," Shcherbina specified.
A Mi-28NM gunship can also interact with other types of drones, the chief designer stressed.
"The technical assignment for the R&D work on creating the Mi-28NM combat helicopter stipulates automated interaction with Korsar and Forpost-R medium-range drones both through an army aviation automated command post and directly between the helicopter and the drone," he explained.
"Automated interaction between Mi-28NM helicopters and various reconnaissance drones will help monitor the designated area without entering the enemy’s effective air defenses, provide accurate target acquisition and exercise control of the combat employment of next-generation light multi-purpose missiles in real time, and also re-transmit telephone and telecode messages between interacting helicopters, aircraft, aircraft platforms and ground-based command posts in the designated area of combat operations," the chief designer said.