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Russia ready to start production of dual-control version of Night Hunter attack helicopter

The dual control system makes it possible to control the helicopter both from the pilot’s cockpit and from the cockpit of the operator pilot who acts as an instructor

ROSTOV-ON-DON, March 16. /TASS/. The production of the Mi-28UB dual-control attack helicopters for the Russian army may begin in the near future, Deputy Managing Director of Rostvertol (a subsidiary of the Russian Helicopters holding) Vadim Barannikov said on Wednesday.

"As for the Mi-28UB helicopter - a version of the Night Hunter with dual controls for the Russian army - we have been working for quite a long time on it with the Defense Ministry’s specifications, and I think that the company will start the helicopter’ manufacturing soon. We are ready to begin the production of such helicopters when the Defense Ministry makes an order to this effect," Barannikov said.

According to him, the Mi-28UB helicopter will be largely similar in characteristics to the Mi-28NE export version with the dual control system that makes it possible to control the helicopter both from the pilot’s cockpit and from the cockpit of the operator pilot who acts as an instructor.

Barannikov said that the company is currently in negotiations with "two or three foreign customers" on possible supplies of the Mi-28NE helicopters. "And at the MAKS-2015 exhibition about five or six countries took a serious interest in them", the Rostvertol deputy director said.

According to him, the countries that have experience in using real combat helicopters and operating Russia’s Mi-8 and Mi-24 type helicopters are the customers for Mi-28NE.

Barannikov also said that the Mi-28 helicopters are equipped with the VK-2500 engines manufactured by a Russian company, so there is no problem with the engines.

"Keeping all the functions of an attack helicopter, the dual-control Mi-28NE greatly simplifies the training process of military pilots who need flying hours on the Night Hunter. The new helicopter has a larger cockpit, equipped with modern energy-attenuating seats", the holding said earlier on Wednesday. According to Rostvertol, the first prototype of the Mi-28NE helicopter with dual flight controls was made in 2014, and in late 2015 the joint state tests were completed. Two contracts on the helicopters’ supply to foreign customers have been signed by now.

"The unique capabilities of the new combat helicopter open excellent prospects for its sale both in Russia and abroad", Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheyev was quoted by the company’s press service.

The dual-control Mi-28NE is a new-generation all-weather attack helicopter. Its main objectives are to destroy armored vehicles, hit low-flying low-speed air targets, aerial reconnaissance, as well as target detection for combat helicopters and warplanes.

The Mi-28N gunship is armed with a 30mm cannon, guided missiles and free rockets. The Night Hunter can locate and destroy armored vehicles, personnel, small surface ships, and low-speed air targets and fortifications, as well as lay mine fields day or night in adverse weather conditions.

The aircraft’s cockpit is reliably armored against armor-piercing bullets and projectiles of 20 mm caliber.