The Mil Mi-35MS is a development from the legendary Mi-24 assault helicopter dubbed ‘Crocodile.’ The Mi-35MS is positioned as special military command and control/communication helicopter for VIP flights. In 2014 it was reported that three Mi-35MS choppers would be manufactured for the Russian military command.
Russia already had the Mi-8MTV configuration for the VIP role, the same Mi-8 configuration that President Putin flies on regularly. Additionally, high-up Russian Ministry of Defense officials use similar configurations in the field, some of which have enhanced command and control capabilities. But the Mi-24 has a maximum speed of 335 km/h, while the Mi-8 has a maximum speed of 230-250 km/h.
According to reports cited by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Mi-35MS boasts improved avionics, modern engines VK-2500, composite blades and all-digital equipment. The aircraft is also reportedly packed full of sensors and radars, such as night flight systems, GLONASS navigation system, Rainbow-N-B satellite station, jam-proof communications equipment, fully computerized pilot cabin and brand-new large panoramic rectangular-shaped illuminators.
The Mi-35MS carries no armament. In the place where rocket pods and missiles are usually hung, there are long-range fuel tanks and missile approaching warning sensors. Where the Hind’s chin-mounted gun is traditionally mounted under the cockpit, a large radar fairing exists, and communications suite is installed along the helicopter’s spine.
According to available information, the special-purpose version – the Mi-35MS – is equipped with advanced avionics, a number of various sensors, a night-vision system, the Raduga-MB satellite station, a GLONASS/GPS navigation system, and an anti-jamming system. It also has a self-protection system against infra-red guided anti-aircraft missiles.
Just like its battle-ready counterpart, the Mi-35MS bears a couple of short wings, but instead of guided missile launchers, the helicopter bears containers with electronic warfare equipment protecting the aircraft from air-defense missile attacks. The aircraft has non-retractable landing gear which helps to compensate the impact shock in case of a hard touchdown.
An operable Mi-35MS was first spotted in 2013 at a military base [othere soruces report a production facility] in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. Several months later, an Mi-35MS was photographed at the test range of the Mil Helicopter Factory in Moscow. Russia’s most classified helicopter was caught on camera over the Kremlin in May 2015. A pair of Mi-35MS helicopters were spotted taking off from behind the red-brick ancient fortress in downtown Moscow.
Although the special-looking aircraft were filmed on 07 May 2015, when preparations for the historic 70th anniversary Victory Day parade on Red Square were in full swing, it gained media attention only half a year later. A couple of special-status olive-painted helicopters, bearing multiple antennas and no tail numbers, soared into the air and shortly disappeared behind the downtown roofs in the Russian capital.
Their unconventional solid green color and the absence of any insignias, except for the Russian flag on the tails, suggested that the choppers were special purpose. Cabin windows rectangular in shape can be seen in the footage. The helicopters were also snapped with a number of antennas on their bodies as well as radio-electronic equipment mounted on the wings.
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