The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


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-26T2s 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 helicopters 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.


The worlds most powerful heavy transport helicopter, the Mi-26T2, is now officially on the production line, Russian Helicopters Corp announced 22 May 2015. We announce the start-up of production of the modernized heavy helicopter Mi-26T2 serial production. Helicopters of Mi-26 family have unequalled characteristics, and their modernization considerably expands the potential of this aircraft, said Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Shibitov. Creating heavy duty helicopters is a particularly challenging task for aircraft designers, but Russia has colossal and unique experience in this field, Shibitov said.

The military Mi-26 and its civilian variant, the Mi-26T have been produced by Rostvertol, a Russian Helicopters-owned plant in Rostov-on-Don, since 1980. Developed by the Mil Moscow Design Bureau during the late Soviet period, the Mi-26T was known worldwide for setting cargo transport records, capable of carrying a cargo of up to 20 tons inside its cabin or on an external sling, or up to 90 personnel. With a cruising speed of 255 km/h, the helicopter has a maximum speed of 295 km/h, and a range of 1,920 km. The Mi-26T2 is an upgraded version of the helicopter Mi-26T, fitted with a new BREO-26 avionics suite and glass cockpit with five multifunctional LCD displays, new digital autopilot, and NAVSTAR/GLONASS supported navigation system. The Mi-26T2s array of on-board equipment ensures the helicopter can operate in any part of the world, and ensures it can perform flights to international standards. The latest avionics suite fitted also makes it possible to reduce the number of crew needed from 5 to 2 people, plus an operator should the external sling be in use.

Mi-26T2 has a maximum takeoff mass of 56 tons and 800 kilometer one-filling fuel capacity; its top speed is 295 km/h, while its fuel-efficient version has a top speed of 255 km/h. The Mi-26T2 has improved avionics and modern navigation controls with five displays. This has allowed the designers to reduce the crew from five to three pilots, though just two are enough to operate the machine itself.

The Mi-26T2s 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 helicopters payload capability to 25 tons. The Mi-26s maximum takeoff weight is 56 metric tons (123,457 pounds); the maximum payload is 20 tons (44,091 pounds). It can carry 82 armed soldiers or up to 60 wounded. Approximately 330 Mi-26s have been manufactured so far, including about 40 for export customers.

The latest deliveries to the Russian armed forces comprised 17 Mi-26T versions between 2011 and 2014. China received three Mi-26Ts in 2007-10 and ordered one more for delivery in 2015. Neither country was yet a confirmed customer for the T2 version as of 2015.

The modernization of the MI-26T2 design was carried out through the late 2000s. The first prototype was delivered by Rostvertol in December 2010, after which the design underwent extensive flight testing. The helicopter passed all basic tests in 2010-11. The Mi-26T2 was first presented to the public at the MAKS-2011 air show. In early 2015, two Mi-26T2 helicopters were assembled for export and after tests would be delivered to Algeria.

Rostvertol, part of the Russian Helicopters holding company, confirmed that Mil Mi-26T2 super-heavy helicopters have been sold to Algeria. Two have already been delivered, and four more will follow by early next year. The initial contract for six was agreed in June 2013,and has been followed by a second, for eight more. Both contracts provide for the training of Algerian pilots and maintainers.

The Algerian order enabled Rostvertol to make the Mi-26T2 a new production standard. It features a state-of-the-art BREO-26 cockpit package from Russian avionics group KRET allowing for night operations, with a glass cockpit of five LCDs, digital data processing, satellite-aided navigation, secure datalink and built-in health-monitoring system. The number of aircrew is reduced from four to two (from five to three when using the rotorcrafts sling).

The new design by the Russian helicopter design and manufacturing giant is equipped with the latest avionics systems, whose new communications, navigation and systems management will allow for operation with less crew members (from 5 down to 2-3), and for dramatically improved nighttime operation. Moreover, the new design is said to improve on its predecessor's already impressive capabilities in difficult weather conditions and mountainous terrain. Like the Mi-26T, the Mi-26T2 can operate for long periods between maintenance.

Speaking on the occasion of the rollout of the modernized design, Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Shibitov stated that "Mi-26 helicopters are unparalleled in terms of their flight capabilities, and this modernization significantly expands their potential operational use. I am confident that the Mi-26T2 will see demand, both in Russia and internationally."

The Mi-26T2 features a so-called glass cockpit, which includes five multifunction LCD displays, new control consoles, and upgraded digital communications systems. Onboard video displays offer a clear picture of any cargo which may be attached to the helicopter's external sling during the daytime.

The aircraft's flight control automation system is said to significantly ease the crew's role. The helicopter features new safety features, including early ground proximity warning systems, in-flight situation, obstacle and collision warning systems, and airspace monitoring of a radius of between 9 and 11 km around the helicopter. For crew comfort, the new helicopter also features air conditioning and heating systems both in the crew and cargo cabins.

In addition to its transport role, the Mi-26T2 can be equipped for a number of other duties, including fire-fighting, autonomous ground-based refueling, and construction and assembly-related work.

Since the early 60-ies. USSR class rotary-wing heavyweights brilliantly represented by MI-6, which is now, four decades after the beginning of its production, continues to serve in some countries. But by the early 70s. complexity and scale of facing the problems of the helicopter fleet has increased significantly, and existing cars longer deal with them in full, both in the Armed Forces and the national economy.

As a result of the analysis of the trend of increasing large-size cargo transportation needs it was revealed a mass of 15-20 tons at a distance of 500-800 km. Among these 80-90% was accounted for by new and emerging models of arms motorized infantry divisions, and high altitude areas, where was to conduct operations could reach 1000-1500 m above sea level. In the same period, after strong growth there has been a decline in the size of helicopters. As in the USSR, and the US were curtailed program to create super-heavy Mi-12 helicopters and CHF-62 before entering the stage of mass production for reasons more economic and operational nature than due to technological limitations. In these circumstances, Moscow Helicopter Plant (MVZ) name Mil, who led the chief designer MN Tishchenko after the company's founder in 1970 of the death, he began to develop a next-generation heavy-lift helicopters.

Just work organized G.P.Smirnov chief designer and deputy A.G.Samusenko. The lead designer was appointed O.P.Bahov. Creating a new heavy truck with the selection of the machine scheme and determine its basic parameters. First Mil tried to make maximum use of serial components and assemblies used on the Mi-8, Mi-6 and Mi-12, as well as a number of previously developed technical solutions. This was considered several schemes of the future system: single-rotor, twin-screw - transverse and longitudinal. It seemed that the best is a longitudinal diagram stopped and the creators of the CHF-62.

It promise a number of advantages: reduced-diameter rotors and the power transmitted to the main transmission gearbox (at most every 10,000 hp) and, therefore, reducing their weight, size, and complexity of designing and manufacturing. Do not be required to solve the problem of a large tail rotor. However, studies have shown that the overall result would be a helicopter considerably heavier and more difficult, especially due to the presence between the main transmission gearboxes. Significant difficulties could also arise due to the characteristic of the longitudinal scheme vibration problems. Preliminary calculations showed that the desire to use the new machine components and assemblies previously created helicopters, and in general the old design methods, is unlikely to lead to success, regardless of the chosen scheme. Take-off weight of the new helicopters would come close to 70 tons, and was required to radically change its approach to the design in order to reduce this amount by about 20 tons.

Studies carried out in conjunction with cost center TsAGI and CIAM allowed to opt for the classic single-rotor design. Heavy helicopter of the new generation has received the designation Mi-26 ( "product 90"). His preliminary design was approved by the Scientific and Technical Council of the MAP in December 1971, and the following year received a positive opinion Mil specialized institutes of the ministry and the defense ministry. According to the requirements of the customer, the helicopter had to transport loads weighing up to 20 tons at a distance of 400 km, while ensuring static ceiling of 1500 m.

To achieve these characteristics, required a power plant capacity of not less than 20,000 hp For it to be used two turboshaft engine D-136, which only began to develop in the Zaporozhye engine-building Design Bureau "Progress", headed by General Designer V.A.Lotarevym. The work was conducted on the basis of a bypass D-36 under the direct supervision of Chief Designer F.M.Muravchenko. Modular block design engines with a fault detection means and failures at an early stage promised to significantly facilitate their repair and maintenance. An integral part of the power plant had to be a system of automatic maintenance of rotor speed and synchronization of power, designed to ensure failure of one engine to another automatic output "Maximal". In this case, power ehp 11400 one D-136 should be enough to provide helicopter flight to climb and even the ability to hover near the ground, provided that its weight will not exceed 40 tons.

Much attention was paid to the cost center professionals the choice of optimal parameters of the rotor (HB). After conducted jointly with TsAGI studies of metal and the blades were created, which have provided a significant increase in the efficiency of the screw. Sam screw designers have designed vosmilopastnym diameter of 28 m. In this case, it turned out almost 40% lighter than the five-blade 35-meter HB Mi-6 and provides 30% more free traction. HB for producing first sleeve so large decided to use a titanium alloy, which ensured its high fatigue strength and reduced weight by 15% compared to MI6 sleeve. Equally revolutionary was and tail rotor design, the blades of which have decided to do the whole of fiberglass (from MI-6 were solid wood). In the end, I managed to get a five-blade unit, which at most two times more thrust and a 1.4 m diameter have the same weight with the tail rotor Mi-6.

The main difficulty is the problem of transmission to HB enormous power of two D-136, which has been successfully overcome by the creation of the main gearbox VR-26. This interrupted a long tradition: it was designed and built dvigatelisty not like it was before, but just firm Mile. The design of the heavy gear planetary scheme has been replaced by a fundamentally new 3-speed multi-threaded. This and a number of other innovations have led to the transfer to the rotor in two more times in comparison with the power of Mi-6 and a half times more torque, paying only a small (8.5%) increase in the weight of the gear.

In the struggle for weight design perfection does not lag behind their peers and the developers of the fuselage of the largest single-rotor helicopter in the world. A new approach to the problems of ensuring its rigidity and strength has allowed Mil meet the weight limits of the Mi-6, thus to achieve increase in the permissible loads on the power components and the volume of cargo cabin twice.

In the design of the Mi-26 cost centers experts have tried to take into account operating experience of its predecessors. First of all it should be noted the decision to place before the engine air intakes, dust-only memory (ROM), a fungal type with a purity of 65-70%, utilizing centrifugal effect to trap foreign particles. This allowed further helicopter work with dusty areas with little or no decrease in motor life with a minimum reduction of their power. To dispense with the airfield power sources and compressed air, a helicopter equipped with APU. And in order not to use ground-handling operations to the ladders and the like equipment, folding hoods and panels power plant completed in the form of working platforms, and inside the tail boom and fin arranged passage to the tail rotor.

It has been improved and means of mechanization of loading and unloading. Thus, the helicopter is equipped with two electric winch and hoist lifting capacity up to 5 tons. The cargo ramp began to rise and fall with the help of a hydraulic system and to control it became possible not only from the workplace or mechanic of the cargo compartment, but also outside of the fuselage. A ladder can be fixed in a horizontal position, enabling transport dlinnomery inside the fuselage. On the ground, it can be installed and fixed flush with the car body or ground equipment used for loading. The design of the main landing gear allows you to change the clearance of the parking lot, lifting the rear part of the fuselage, which makes it possible to approximate the load to the ladder. In order not to interfere with the approach of art to the rear hatch, tail wheel is tightened to the tail boom. As with other helicopters, Mi-26 provided external suspension system that allows to deliver large loads weighing up to 20 tons.

In addition to equipment and cargo, the Mi-26 was to carry personnel. The cargo compartment of the helicopter can accommodate 82 soldiers or 68 paratroopers with full equipment. Cover and sanitary option for conversion which took several hours. This sets the 60 stretchers for the wounded and were equipped with three seats for accompanying medical staff.

The new helicopter equipped with weather radar, included in the navigation system, designed to fly at any time of the day, in simple and adverse weather conditions. It allows to solve problems in the field of 1900x1900 kilometers with an accuracy of notation 0.02-0.2% of the distance traveled, and requires only 10 minutes to prepare for the flight. Mi-26 is also equipped with three-channel complex aerobatic autopilot systems, trajectory and the guiding control, the newest addition to the time of the magnetic recording system of flight data and voice communications equipment, warning the crew of an emergency in flight.

When you create the Mi-26, great attention was paid to the full-scale experiments to simulate its various components and assemblies. It was built a unique stand the test of the power plant and the carrier system, which has no analogues to date. On the other stand the test of the helicopter carried out an interesting method of "full-scale discard the product." Important results were obtained in a flight on a flying laboratory Mi-6, equipped with a rotor Mi-26.

Construction of the Mi-26 layout began in 1972 and took his state commission within three years. By the time most of the work was completed and the design of the machine. Also in 1975 the new lead designer on Mi-26 became V.V.Shutov.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 10-04-2019 12:06:24 ZULU