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Helicopter Classification

Transport / Utility
Very Light - 2 seat
Ka-10 Hat
Ka-56 Wasp
Light - to 12,000 lbs GTOW
Mi-1 Hare
Mi-2 Hoplite


Ka-15 Hen
Ka-18 Hog
Ka-26 Hoodlum
Ka-115 Moskvichka
Ka-126 Hoodlum-B


Medium - to 45,000 lbs GTOW
Mi-4 Hound
Mi-8 Hip
Mi-14 Haze
Mi-17 Hip H
Mi-30 Vintoplan
Ka-32 Helix
Ka-60 Kasatka
Ka-62 Kasatka
Ka-64 Sky Horse

Yak-24 Horse
Heavy - to 80,000 lbs GTOW
Mi-6 Hook
Mi-10 Harke
Mi-22 project
Ka-22 Hoop
Ultra Heavy Lift
Mi-12 Homer
V-16 / Mi-12M
Mi-26 Halo


Combat / Shock Helicopters
CombatNaval Combat
Mi-24 Hind
Mi-25 Hind D
Ka-20 Harp
Ka-25 Hormone
Ka-27 Helix
Ka-28 Helix
Ka-29 Helix
Shock / Attack
Mi-28 Havoc
Ka-50 Hokum
Ka-52 Hokum B
V-80 Hokum

By convention used worldwide, helicopters are categorized by weight. Specifically, "light", "medium lift", and "heavy lift" helicopters. Light helicopters are those generally considered below 12,000 pounds maximum gross weight. "Medium lift" are generally considered those from about 14,000 pounds to 45,000. There is some disagreement in terminology regarding the use of "heavy lift." Some within the industry refer to helicopters above 50,000 pounds as "heavy lift" while others reserve this term for the very largest helicopters, those above 80,000 pounds.

By the end of the Cold War the Soviet Union was the second largest helicopter producing country and a world leader in the production of large heavy lift helicopters. There were seven helicopters in production in the USSR by 1990: Mi-17, Mi-14, Mi-24 Mi-26, Mi-28, Mi-34 and Ka-32. Both the Mi-14 and Mi-17 use a similar transmission; the Mi-14, Mi-17, Mi-24, Mi-28, Ka-32 all have the same power (they use the same engines) but are significantly different designs. Unique is the Mi-34 helicopter, which has a piston engine and a one stage gearbox, all another Soviet helicopters have two gas turbine engines. The helicopter Ka-32 features a coaxial rotor, while all "Mi" helicopters have one main rotor and a tail rotor.

Design of the transmissions of the Soviet helicopters was different than transmissions of Western helicopters. Power capacity of Soviet helicopter transmissions was typically in the range of 2200 - 23000 HP (1650-17000 Kwt). In comparison to Western helicopters, weight of the transmission on the Soviet helicopter relative to power is higher; but the method of assessing quality using the ratio of weight to power is not really accurate. If transmissions are compared on the basis of weight to torque ratio, transmissions of the Soviet helicopters look better. In addition, consideration must be given to level of technOlogy, qualiy of materials, life of service and scale factor.

Even a superficial observation would indicate that there were basic differences in the Soviet and Western design and operational philosophies of rotary-wing aircraft. On the other hand, one should not be surprised to find a lot of commonality in the approach to various technical and operational problems. It appears that helicopters designed in the West generally had much better hovering performance under high altitude-elevated temperature conditions than their Soviet counterparts.

Russia became the first country in the world that introduced the term "fifth-generation helicopter." First in the helicopter did not have a clear classification for generations, such as, say, a fighter. It does not exist and the specific requirements for each of the cars generations, as is common in fighter aircraft.

Classification of rotorcraft is complicated by the fact that often, each new aircraft (not only in Russia, but all over the world) is based on similar helicopters legacy, taking over its predecessors most of the technical and design solutions. As an example, the Russian attack helicopters Mi-28N "Night Hunter" and the Mi-35, created on the basis of the Mi-28 and Mi-24, respectively. The same applies to the US AH-64D Apache Longbow or AH-1Z Super Cobra, which are based on AH-64 Apache and AH-1 Cobra.

Each of these helicopters is different from its predecessor in more advanced avionics, enhanced nomenclature of arms and some technical innovations, but in fact represents only a modernization of varying degrees of depth. For this reason, the Mi-28 and Mi-28N can be attributed to the same generation, and different generations. And all because of the fact that there is not even any clear classification of such machines.

In Russia there are four generations of shock rotorcraft: the first - the Mi-1, the second - the Mi-4, the third - the Mi-24, and the fourth - the Mi-28N and Ka-50 "Black shark" (Out of production) and Ka-52 "Alligator". With this classification of attack helicopters could be accepted if mentioned Mi-1 and Mi-4 did not belong to the class of multi-purpose vehicles, used mostly for transportation. They rarely even have defensive weapons. However, following the logic of Sivkova between Mi-4 and Mi-24 should arrange transport and assault version of Mi-8 - Mi-8AMTSh adapted for fighting, even at night.

Russia is going to build a new military helicopter that will be able to fly at a "revolutionary" speed of 400 kilometers per hour, slightly below the official world record, a Russian source in the military tech industry told RIA Novosti on 04 February 2015. "The helicopter will have a revolutionary speed of roughly 400 kilometers per hour [248.5 mph; 215.9 knots]. The project is in the R&D phase right now," the source said. The official speed record for helicopters is 400.87 kmph (249.09 mph), set by an English demonstration team in 1986.

The tech industry source spoke of an "entirely new class of helicopters," saying it would be an advanced multipurpose aircraft built with a state-of-the-art technology. "Its cockpit will be equipped with multipurpose displays that show any kind of data at any given time and not with pointer indicators," the source said, adding there was still no date set for a prototype.

Russia is reportedly allocating large sums to build an advanced high-speed helicopter. A prototype engine is expected to be unveiled by the Klimov design bureau later this year. Rival aircraft manufacturers Eurocopter and Sikorsky are testing prototype models, with the Sikorsky X2 surpassing 460 kmph and Eurocopter X3 featuring slightly lower speed but superior cost-effectiveness.

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Page last modified: 21-10-2016 18:40:26 ZULU