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Mil Mi-2 is a light multi-purpose twin-turbine engine helicopter. The Mi-2 is a single pilot, light transport type helicopter designed by the Mil Design Bureau of the former USSR and built in Poland by WSK-PZL Swidnik. The helicopter has classic configuration with a three bladed main rotor (48 ft diameter) and two bladed tail rotor system.

It was intended to replace the earlier Mi-1. It can be used for transport of passengers and freight, for training, reconnaissance and rescue tasks. The MI-2 Hoplite provides transport and fire support. The MI-2 can conduct reconnaissance, resupply guerrillas and provide close air support with 57mm rockets. It can also have a smoke generator mounted to provide a wide area smoke screen in front of units, screening their movements. Additional missions include; direct air support, antitank, armed reconnaissance, transport, medevac, airborne command post, minelaying, and training.

The Mi-2 may be outfitted for many missions. As a transport it can carry up to eight passengers depending on environmental conditions. In the transport/cargo role it can not only carry internal loads but is capable of mounting an electrically operated external hoist rated at 260 pounds. In the air ambulance role, the Mi-2 can carry two stretchers and one attendant. The Mi-2 can also be outfitted with two six shot rocket pods, gun pods, mine dispensing equipment, or smoke generating equipment. The aircraft can be outfitted with external fuel tanks for extended range/endurance.

Some Mi-2USs currently employ fuselage-mounted weapon racks rather than the 23-mm fuselage-mounted cannon which is removed. Some variants however, still employ the cannon. External stores are mounted on weapons racks on each side of the fuselage. Each rack has two hardpoints for a total of four stations.

The first prototype of Mi-2 (NATO reporting name Hoplite) flew in September 1961. Based on an agreement from 1964, further development, production and sales of this type was passed over to Poland. Two years later, the PZL Company started the production. Although the Mi-2 Hoplite was developed by the Mil bureau in the former Soviet Union, the aircraft was produced exclusively in Poland by the PZL Swidnik aircraft factory. Several thousand of these aircraft were built and it remained in production until 1985.

The three-blade main rotor is mounted on top of a large hump above the body midsection. Two turboshaft enginess are mounted side-by-side on top of cabin, forming a hump, with round air intakes above the cockpit and oval exhausts on the sides of the engines. The small, bus-like fuselage with fixed landing gear features a stepped-up cockpit and rounded nose, and a tadpole-shaped body when viewed from bottom. The tapered tail boom has small, unequally tapered flats and a thin, swept-back fin with a rotor on the right.

The empty weight of the Mi-2 is 5,379 pounds. The maximum design gross weight is 7,826 pounds. On a pod under the fuselage it can carry underslung loads up to 800 kg. On each side of the fuselage, external fuel tanks (capacity of 2 x 238 litres) can be fixed. The helicopter is equipped with a non-retractable tricycle-type landing gear with a twin-wheel nose unit. It is powered by two Isotov GTD-350 engines (2 x 330 kW), also manufactured by the Polish PZL Company under a licence.

The cabin with the length of 2.27 m (4.05 m including flight-deck), width of 1.2 m and height of 1.4 m can accommodate up to 8 persons or, with seats removed, up to 700 kg of load or two stretchers and two seated persons. The cabin is accessible by two front doors on each side of the fuselage and one larger door on the port side. The cabin door is hinged rather than sliding, which may limit operations. There is no armor protection for the cockpit or cabin. Ammo storage is in the aircraft cabin, so combat load varies by mission.

The flight control system may be doubled for pilot training. The flight control system is a positive, mechanical linkage with hydraulic boost with a conventional set of helicopter controls. The aircraft is powered by two GTD-350 turbo shaft engines produce 400 SHP each at the take off rating.

By 2005 more than 1,500 Mi-2 helicopters were in operation in different parts of the world, but nearly all of them had reached the end of their service life and were in need of an overhaul. The cost of refurbishing a Mi-2 being several dozen times lower than the price of a new foreign-made light helicopter of a similar category, the Mil OKB and the Swidnik plant took the decision to start work with a view to restoring, improving and upgrading the existing fleet of Mi-2 helicopters. The first stage of this work envisaged increasing reliability and improving the performance, as well as ensuring good quality of the repairs. The next step includes a programme of increasing the helicopters' service life and fitting them out with more lightweight and up-to-date equipment. A radical upgrade of existing Mi-2s involving the fitment of new main and tail rotor blades made of composite materials, installation of a new rotor head etc. was also under consideration.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:18:34 ZULU