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Mi-28N Night Hunter - Program

The Mi-28N made its first flight 14 November 1996 adopted by the Air Force (now - a part of aerospace forces VKS) Russia 15 October 2009 serially produced since 2006 in the plant of PJSC "Rostvertol" (Rostov-on-Don) produced more than 100 copies by 2016.

The Mi-28 Program coincided with the hard era of economic depression in Russia and was accompanied by numerous dramatic events. The Program financing was interrupted, the perfection of helicopters was also ceased, etc. As of 1997, the prototype machine has been made and its plant trials had commenced. Testing and development of the Mi-28N as the main combat helicopter began in 2003, with series production to be undertaken at Rostov on the Don.

In December 2003, Air Force Commander- in-Chief Vladimir Mikhailov unexpectedly asserted that, despite the fact that the Ka-50 won the tender in 1985-86, "the Mi-28N would become the main attack helicopter in the Russian Air Force." The general declared that it was inappropriate to compare the Ka-50 and the Mi-28N models, since they had different combat missions. "The Ka-50 and Ka-52 are good special-op and reconnaissance helicopters, but there's nothing better than the Mi-28 for general purpose missions and fire support," Mikhailov said. In 2004, the Russian Air Force announced that the Mi-28N would become the main attack helicopter. The state order included an initial batch of three Mi-28N helicopters for field-testing. Mikhailov promised that another Mi-28 would join the one already flying in February 2005, while the third aircraft was to take off in summer. By 2015, the Russian Air Force plans to acquire up to 50 Night Hunters.

The State Tests of the latest Russian all-weather helicopter Mi-28N called the Night Hunter started on March 31, 2004. Nickolai Semikopenko, the Managing Director of the Closed Joint-Stock Company "Upravlauschaya kompaniya "Permsky motorostroitelniy kompleks", called them "a new phase in gearbox and transmission production". The new machine was developed thanks to joint efforts of the Rostov Helicopter-Production Center and the Moscow Helicopter Plant named after Mil. Reductor-PM is one of the major companies of the Perm Engine Building Complex and supplies full set of transmission for this unique helicopter. Alexander Burutin, the Russian President Councilor on military production issues and state defense orders, said that the Russian Federation Military Air Forces will be armed with the first helicopters of Mi-28N in two or three years. These will replace the famous Mi-24 called "the flying tank".

"Mi-28N helicopter development program is the largest fulfilled aviation domestic program, in which the leading Russian military-industrial complex enterprises together with the leading designer have taken a part", stated Boris Slyusar, Director General of "Rostvertol" PLC. According to him the startup batch of these helicopters was put into production, and their assembly is carried out in workshops of the Enterprise.

Alexander Burutin, the Russian President Adviser, who was present in Rostov during trials of "Night Hunter", informed that new samples of Mi-28N helicopters will be put into inventory of Russian Army in two years. "It is planned that the first combat samples of Mi-28N helicopter shall be on inventory of Russian Army in two-three years, which shall replace the famous Mi-24 called as flying tank", - Burutin said. "Today we can speak about suspension of system economical crisis and revival of defense industry", - Burutin thinks. According to him, in 2004, the state defense order was increased by 20% in comparison with 2003, the new state armament program is being developed which shall also envisage the putting of Mi-28N helicopter into inventory.

As of early 2004 Russia's Air Force was expected to purchase 50 new Mi-28N shock helicopters by 2010. Ten were to be delivered in 2006 and Russia should have 67 in 2015 of them. In April 2004 it was reported that the Ministry of Defense of Russia intended to order 300 new Mi-28N "Night Hunter" combat helicopters. Russian Air Force Commander, Army General Vladimir Mikhailov informed reporters about this after flight trials of the new machine at "Rostvertol" PLC. "There are no analogs of this machine in the world, all vendor items of this machine are entirely of Russian origin", - Commander underlined. According to him, 50 of the helicopters were planned to be delivered to Armed Forces by 2010.

The Army had received only several Mi-24N helicopters equipped with thermal imaging devices). Colonel-General Alexander Zelin, deputy commander of the Air Force for aviation, stated that the Army will receive first Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters only in 2006. He noted: "State tests are to finish in 2005; the Air Force must receive the Mi-28N in 2006."

In mid-September 2004, Russia announced that the Mi-28N attack helicopter was ready for series production and that first metal would be cut at the Rostov-on-Don plant very soon. The first production model helicopter was to be flown in mid 2005 and, in the second half of that year, was to be delivered to the Russian Air Force. At that time, by 2008 (2010 by some estimates), 50 Mi-28N helicopters were expected to be in service. Ultimately, the Russian Air Force wanted 300 Mi-28Ns by 2012, at which point the current force of modernized Mi-24PN helicopters was to gradually be withdrawn from service.

The obsolescence of the Russian Air Force continued in 2005. Work on helicopters was restricted to the modernization of several Mi-24P attack helicopters into the Mi-24PN type, and the contined development of the Mi-28N and Ka-52.[SOURCE: The Russian Military: Still Saving for a Rainy Day] The Mi-28N has been chosen as the basic combat helicopter of the Russian Army. As of mid-2005 there were plans to supply around 50 Mi-24N helicopters to the army aviation of the Air Force until 2010. It's not ruled out that the brigades stationed in Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Dagestan would be armed with these helicopters.

In 2006, six Mi-28N Night Hunter combat helicopters were bought. In June 2006, by the decision of the AF Commander-in-Chief, approved by the Minister of Defense, two Mi-28N helicopters - first OGT -1 prototype helicopter and first pre-production helicopter 01-01, assembled already at the "Rostvertol", took part in war games in Byelorussia, notwithstanding that the joint state tests had not been completed yet.

In September 2007, the Mi-28N was adopted by the Russian Air Force, which received the first four helicopters in 2008. In October 2007 Mi-28N combat helicopter (Night Hunter) successfully passed the first stage of State tests with representatives of Russian Air Force, Rostvertol PLC and Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant involved. The test results proved high level of Mi-28N technical reliability, unfailing operation of helicopter main components and mechanisms, what finally shows that all set up requirements were satisfied.

As of late 2007 the air force was meant to receive around 50 Mi-28Ns by 2010, to replace the ageing Mi-24 Hind in the attack role. The aim is to replace all the Mi-24s by 2015, which will require the acquisition of a further 200 plus helicopters. The first four Mi-28Ns were due to be delivered to the Torzhok military helicopter tactics and training school during 2008. In early 2008 the Russian Air Force received two brand new Mi-28N which were deployed in the Tver area. Initially the MoD planned to buy 10-15 helicopters a year. Eight such helicopters were constructed by 2008, and the state armaments program to 2015 projected the purchase of another 67 vehicles (the Air Force estimates that it needs 300). In addition, three Ka-50 combat helicopters are to be built at Arsenev, and 12 two-seater Ka-52 combat helicopters will be built for the use of the special forces.

Owing to joint efforts of many patriots of the Motherland and to enthusiasts of the helicopter aviation the development of the Mi-28N “Night Hunter” helicopter was completed successfully, because the helicopter passed the major part of joint state tests, was put into series production and was delivered to the military installations of the Russian Federation Air Force Army Aviation.

The Mi-28N helicopter underwent joint State Tests and preliminary operation in the field, which ended in the helicopter upgrading up to the requirements of the Air force. It would take at the maximum a year and a half to accomplish the upgrading, which would be followed by taking a decision on the adoption of the helicopter in the Armed Forces.

According to the plans of the Command of the Russian Armed Forces the Russian Federation Air Force will purchase 10-15 vehicles a year, and this figure will rise further on to provide full renewal of the Russian-made combat helicopter fleet before 2015. After having been completed the regiment in Torzhok, the delivery of the helicopters to other military installations will begin, first and foremost to the Air Force units of the North Caucasus Military District. Besides the Russian military men many foreign customers also take interest in the Mi-28N helicopter.

“A new attack Mi-28N helicopter as per its performance surpasses all the foreign rotary-wing aircraft of similar class and fully meets the highest requirements of the modern combined arms operation,” stated Director General of the holding company “Helicopters of Russia”, A.B. Shibitov. “We hope the “Night Hunter” developed by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, JSC will be for years a reliable shield and sword of the Russian Army Aviation, as well as a source of steady income to be earned by our state from international military and technical cooperation”, he finalized.

On February 7, 2008 in Center No. 344 of combat preparation and retraining of the Air Force Army Aviation in Torzhok the festivities were celebrated in honor of the delivery of the first two Mi-28N series helicopters “Night Hunter” to the military installation. In the activities took part both the military men of the installation headed by the Chief of the Center, General A.Yu. Chernyayev, and numerous specialists of Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, JSC providing the activation of prospective combat vehicles.

The gala occasion marked the completion of an important stage of the years of work of the staff members of Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, JSC, their colleagues from Rostvertol PLC carrying out the series manufacture of the Mi-28N helicopters, as well as many other civilian and military experts of the helicopter aviation engaged in the development, tests, perfection, modernization and introduction into series manufacture and operation of the above combat rotorcraft, which is highly effective, prospective and was in demand for a long period of time.

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