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Mi-26 HALO

The Mi-26 helicopter, the heaviest and most powerful helicopter in the world, was designed for carrying large-size cargoes weighing up to 20 tons, nearly twice that of the earlier Mi-6 Hook. It is the result of an early 1970s specification for a transport helicopter whose empty weight, without fuel, was not to exceed half of its maximum take-off weight. It can be used for construction projects ranging from bridges to power transmission lines. The combination of high load-carrying capacity and high cruise speed makes the use of the helicopter economically efficient.

The helicopter is loaded through the cargo hatch in the tail of the fuselage with lowered ladder and subladders. The cargo cabin is equipped with two electric hoists and lifting and loading devices ensuring loading and carrying along the cabin of cargoes weighing up to 5 tons. Mil Moscow helicopter plant joint stock company is the major designer and producer of military transport, civil transport, heavy-lift,multi-role helicopters. Mil is associated with the Rostov and Kazan production enterprises. Rostov makes the Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopters.

The Mi-26 is the first helicopter with an eight-blade main rotor, which is mounted above the fuselage midsection on a hump. Two turboshaft engines are mounted on top of the cabin with round air intakes above and behind the cockpit and exhaust ports at the sides of the engines. The long, bus-like body with fixed tricycle landing gear tapers to the nose and rear, with an upswept rear section and rounded nose and stepped-up cockpit. The tail is swept-back with a slightly tapered fin with large rotor on right side. The flats are forward-tapered and low-mounted on leading edge of the fin.

The HALO A has no armament. The load and lift capabilities of the aircraft are comparable to the US C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. The length of the landing gear struts can be hydraulically adjusted to facilitate loading through the rear doors. The tailskid is retractable to allow unrestricted approach to the rear clamshell doors and loading ramp. The cargo compartment has two electric winches (each with 2,500 kg capacity) on overhead rails can move loads along the length of the cabin. The cabin floor has rollers and tie-down rings throughout. The HALO has a closed-circuit television system to observe positioning over a sling load, and load operations. The Mi-26 is capable of single-engine flight in the event of loss of power by one engine (depending on aircraft mission weight) because of an engine load sharing system. If one engine fails, the other engine's output is automatically increased to allow continued flight.

The Mi-26 was born from the end of the Mi-12 project. Indeed, the Soviet motor mechanics having succeeded in developing more powerful engines, the selected formula had become interesting. It made its first flight in December 1977 and started production in 1981, the year of its presentation to the Westerners. In its performance it was superior to the best foreign helicopters. The successful completion of the Mi-26's trials and its entry into series production confirmed the firm's ability to create state-of-the-art helicopters of any class.

The creation of the Mi-26 was preceded by serious scientific research, experiments and design work and by the establishment of a whole complex of scientific experiment facilities having no analogues in the world. In 1976, building on unorthodox methods evolved in the OKB, M. N. Tishchenko, A. V. Nekrasov and A. S. Radin prepared for publication a fundamental research work entitled "Helicopters. The Choice of Design Parameters". The book was highly appraised both in the USSR and abroad and was translated into English.

The design of Mi-26 seems inspired by the Mi-6 - slightly smaller but much more elegant and with twice the payload capacity. It is strongly modernized and can carry a larger payload. It is currently the largest helicopter in production in the world. It established several world records of which that of flight to 2000 m of altitude with a total weight of 56769kg.

The Mi-26 is propelled by two turbomotors Lotarev D-136 of 11.400 CV each one. Its titanium and principal glass fibre rotor has eight pale whereas the rotor of tail has of them five made glass fibre. It has a system of de-icing of pale and is the only helicopter in production which has a principal rotor comprising 8 pale. The Mi-26 has a fixed three-wheeled landing gear whose wheels are twinned.

The standard crew is composed of a pilot, a copilot, a navigator and a flight engineer. The cockpit was designed in order to optimize the visibility and is pressurized - with the reverse of the compartment. Three cameras make it possible the crew to be able to observe the behavior of the loads during all the vol. A hydraulic crane facilitates the loading and unloading. The Mi-26 can carry 80 men equipped or a load of 20 tons out of compartment, is a load close to those carried by Transall C-160 or Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and it can be used as crane thanks to its capacity of carrying under sling. The Mi-26 before was mainly conceived for military transport and thus has many systems of defense such of launchers of flares or chaff.

The Mil V-29 is the prototype of the Mi-26, the first military version of transport. The Mi-26 is the military version of transport with an improved avionics. The ambulance version is able to carry an operating room. The Mi-26 version for transport of passengers has a capacity of 85 people and the flying crane version has a gondole facilitating the observation of the loads. The Mi-26 version supply craft and Semi-26TP bomber of water which can release 15000 liters of water.

The Mi-26 is in service in Russia but also in Ukraine, in Kazakhstan, in Bielorussia, in India, in Peru, in Greece, in Laos, in Cyprus, in North Korea, in Malaysia, in South Korea, in Venezuela and Mexico. Mi-26 was rented by the United States in 2002 in order to recover a Boeing CH-47 Chinook shot down in Afghanistan.

UNO and various Civil securities call upon its services regularly. Aeroflot also uses some with other airline companies such as Vertical-O. The Mi-26 pressed the ground of Afghanistan as from 1985 without any loss and they were used by the Russians in Chechnya. They were also present in almost all the conflicts of the area of the Caucasus and with Dagestan in 1999. The Semione also contributed its share at the time of the nuclear incident of Chernobyl in 1986 while transporting heavy material. Within UNO, one found it in Yugoslavia, in Somalia, in Kampuchea, in Indonesia or with Timor for humanitarian missions, of evacuation, transport or assistance to the rebuilding.

The Mi-26 is the best heavy lifter in the world. It was created at Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, JSC and at present it is serially produced at Rostvertol, JSC. Besides CIS countries it has been adopted by the Armed Forces and operators of India, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, North Korea, South Korea and Greece. Moreover, Mil heavy lifters are operated in about a dozen of countries under lease contracts, U.N.O and Red Cross projects.

At present Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, JSC together with Rostov helicopter engineers proceed with the Mi-26 modernization. Mi-26T baseline model has undergone re-equipment and become Mi-26T2 round-the-clock operation rotorcraft with reduced crew number and fitted with integrated on-board home manufactured electronic equipment (BREO-26). Cockpit illumination and signalling are NVG-compatible.

The Mi-26M is the latest and most powerful Mi-26 variant. In 1992 MVZ Mil' drafted a PD project of the Mi-26M (modernizeerovannyy – upgraded). In 1992, the preliminary design was developed, built an experienced helicopter, serial production is planned after 1996. In 1993, the 40th Aerospace Exhibition in Paris exhibited the helicopter model. Not too much has been hear of this helicopter since, but it is reliably reported that as of 2015 it was expected to enter srvice by 2020.

The M-version Halos are equipped with two ZMKB Progress D-127 turboshaft engines. These engines each produce approximately 14 000 shaft horsepower. This additional power increases the maximum payload to 24,970 kg. The civilian Mi-26T2’s payload capability is 20 tons, whereas its nearest rival, the American Sikorsky CH-53E, has an external load capability of 16 tons. It was rumored that further Mi-26T2 modernization might increase helicopter’s payload capability to 25 tons.

The additional power provided by these engines also allows maximum payload-carrying ability at high altitude and in warm weather, conditions that are generally detrimental to any helicopter's performance.

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Page last modified: 25-10-2021 17:29:33 ZULU