Training “Hunters” went to combat work. The Ministry of Defense made a decision on the distribution of Mi-28UB helicopters, sources in the military department told Izvestia. They will be sent to the Southern and Western military districts. In terms of its capabilities, the new product seriously surpasses the Mi-28N and is practically not inferior to the modernized shock Mi-28NM “Night Super Hunter”: it can be effectively used not only for training, but also for destroying a potential enemy. Obtaining such vehicles will seriously increase the combat capabilities of the troops, experts say.
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Between two armies
Sources in the military department told Izvestia that a decision in principle to deploy the Mi-28UB has already been made. The vehicles will be distributed between the 4th and 6th Air Armies of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Southern and Western Military Districts. Also, new items will go to separate army aviation brigades of the Southern Military District and the Western Military District.
The development of the combat trainer proceeded in parallel with the modernization of the Mi-28NM. Therefore, the Mi-28UB received many improvements over the original model of the “Night Super Hunter”. It is capable of using new types of long-range missiles and is equipped with radar, as well as enhanced body armor. The novelty will go into service with units that have the Mi-28N. Now the VKS has more than a hundred such helicopters at its disposal. They became the most numerous new-built domestic percussion machines. In terms of its combat capabilities, the Mi-28UB will occupy an intermediate link between the Mi-28N and the newest Superhunters.
The combat training version of the Mi-28 received a dual control kit. You can pilot the car equally successfully from any of the workplaces. Usually, the instructor is located in the front cockpit, and the trained pilot is in the rear. In this case, the transfer of control from one to another takes place instantly, without wasting time. In addition, the commander’s place is equipped with a fault simulation complex. With its help, you can simulate various emergency situations and work out the algorithms of actions when they occur.
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The sighting and navigation system has also been updated. It has become faster acting. Mounted above the rotor, the radar detects ground and air targets and helps to fly at low altitudes in adverse weather conditions, as well as at night, avoiding dangerous obstacles such as power lines. The basic version of the Mi-28N is not equipped with such a radar.
In addition to unguided weapons, the combat training helicopter is capable of using anti-tank missile systems. The list of weapons included not only ATGM “Shturm” and “Attack”, but also new “Whirlwinds” tested in Syria. In the future, it is possible to further expand the arsenal with even longer-range ammunition, which was developed for the deeply modernized Mi-28NM.
Previously, the Mi-24 drums belonging to the previous generation had to be retrained for the new Mi-28N. But they are gradually being removed from service. In addition, experts noted that these two models have many differences in terms of piloting. Now it is planned to have one combat training helicopter per link of conventional “Night Hunters”. Earlier, the command of the Aerospace Forces announced their desire to acquire a total of 40-60 such “flying desks”, as the Mi-28UB is called in aviation.
The problem of training pilots for the Mi-28N was partially solved through the use of modern computer simulators. Since 2010, the Ministry of Defense has been purchasing specialized STV-28, as well as a training class UKK-Mi-28N-L for training and retraining pilots.
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– Combat trainers Mi-28 are needed in the troops. They simplify pilot retraining, ”Honored Test Pilot, Hero of Russia Igor Malikov told Izvestia. – To perform tasks effectively, you need to be comprehensively prepared. And if a young pilot is trained directly in the sky by an experienced instructor who knows the machine thoroughly, the training time will be significantly reduced. In a twin, a more experienced pilot shows how to perform difficult elements: piloting at night, in difficult weather conditions, coups, etc. The autorotation landing of the propeller is also a very important point. The young pilot must be shown this so that he understands what to do when the engines fail.
Computer simulators cannot completely replace machines with two control sets, the expert is sure.
“It’s one thing when you realize that you’re risking your life, and quite another when you control a computer,” he explained. “You can only learn to fly in the sky, and the pilots, as they pass the necessary exams, receive admissions. But young graduates of flight schools do not know all the subtleties, so in the troops they improve their skills on training combat vehicles.
Development of versions of the Mi-28N with dual control began as early as the execution of export contracts for Iraq and Algeria.
In April 2016, Russian Helicopters and the Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the supply of 24 specially developed Mi-28UBs for army aviation. The first trial batch of eight Rostvertol units was handed over to the Ministry of Defense in November 2017. It was planned to complete this contract this year.
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According to the manufacturer, the Mi-28UB became the first fully digitized helicopter at Rostvertol. The use of its electronic model and design documentation made it possible to minimize the construction time.
Mi-28Ns have already taken part in real combat operations. In Iraq, their export version has been used in battles against IS since 2014 (banned in Russia). Since 2016, Russia has also used them against extremist groups in Syria.
To replace the Mi-28N, taking into account the experience of combat use, an upgraded version of the Mi-28NM “Superhunter” was created. After successfully passing the test machine in Syria in June last year, the defense department ordered 96 of these helicopters. They should be produced by 2027. As Izvestia previously reported, the transfer of the first two production vehicles of this type to the troops should take place before the end of December.
The newest “Superhunter” Mi-28NM already has built-in dual control, borrowed from the combat training model. The possibility of using the same machines for combat operations and for training is declared by the developers as one of the main ones. It should increase the export prospects of the helicopter.