This year marks the 40th anniversary of production of the Mi-24, the first purpose-built Russian combat helicopter. Developed from the MIL Mi-8 “Hip” the Mi-24 was designed to both a strike and transport helicopter, and was so successful that some 1,500 Mi-24s still serve with the armed forces of 60 countries worldwide. And while once seen as a symbol of Soviet military aggression, the Mi-24 now serves on several international peace-keeping and stabilization missions.
On 21 September 1978 Hero of the Soviet Union Gurgen Karapetyan flew a modified A-10 to set the absolute speed record for helicopters with 368.4 km/h over a 15/25 km course. The record stood until 1986 when it was broken by the current record holder, a modified Westland Lynx. (note: the helicopter pictured above is a standard “A” model, not the actual aircraft used to achieve the speed record.)
The Mi-24 (pictured above is the “P” model) was used as the platform for development of the Mi-35M, which entered production in 2005. As well as having substantially superior flight capabilities and maneuverability to its predecessor, the Mi-35M can fly combat missions around the clock and in a range of geographies and climates – including high-temperature and high-altitude environments. The Mi-35M is in particular demand in South America, where countries have begun incorporating this unique machine into their fleets.
The Mi-35M is equipped with advanced high-precision weapons, and it can be used day and night to destroy armoured targets or to provide air support for ground operations. It can be configured as a strike, ground-assault, med-evac or transport helicopter, making it both flexible and cost-effective, as it can replace a number of different rotorcraft.
A key advantage of the Mi-35M is its round-the-clock combat capability. It comes with advanced navigation equipment and multifunctional colour displays, surveillance and targeting systems that include thermal imaging and television channel, a laser range finder and a location finder. This not only reduces demands facing the crew, but also allows the helicopter’s guided and unguided weapons to be used at any time. The helicopter is also able to take off and land in unprepared and poorly-equipped areas.
The multi-role Mi-35M, based on the illustrious Mi-24, is unique in its class.
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