In an end-of-year statement, Russian Helicopters confirmed that the Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter has finally been accepted into service. The company also listed deliveries for 2013.
Although the Mi-28N has been flying with Russian air force units for several years, the customer hesitated to accept it officially due to some teething problems cured only recently. The machines in the initial production batches, as well as their weapons and ground support equipment, have been subjected to extensive operational trials in various environments.
The Rostverol manufacturing plant in Rostov-upon-Don commenced series production as long ago as 2005 and has assembled several dozen copies. Some went to the Berkuts air display team that previously flew Mi-24s. The team commenced formation flying in public on the new type in 2012 and showcased the aircraft at MAKS’2013. Last year 10 newly assembled machines went to Ostov AFB and four more to earlier equipped units as replacements.
Russian Helicopters says that work on perfecting the Mi-28N continues, targeting improvement of the flight performance and combat capabilities. At MAKS’2013 the maker demonstrated for the first time a new version with twin flight controls developed for pilot training. This version made its maiden flight on August 9, 2013.
Meanwhile, the KRET avionics holding company said this month that an improved model of a 360-degree surveillance radar has been tested successfully and is ready for installation on the top of the Mi-28N’s mast.
Russian Helicopters made 303 deliveries last year, compared with 290 in 2012. About half went to the Russian defense ministry. The tally included 17 Ka-52 reconnaissance and attack helicopters; eight Mi-35s; ten Mi-8MTV5s; four Mi-26s; and 53 Mi-8AMTShs.
Major export success was achieved with the Mi-35Ms entering service with the Iraqi air force. In fact, these have already been used against Islamic militants near the Syrian border. Despite pressing technical issues, the MoD helicopter training units at Syzran AFB took six more Ansat-U helicopters with fly-by-wire systems. The utility of an FBW system on such a small rotorcraft continues to receive mixed reports.