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The latest Mi-8/17 military transport helicopter family includes the Mi-17V-5 (domestic designation Mi-8MTV-5) made at Kazan Helicopters and the Mi-171Sh (Mi-8AMTSh) made at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. Mi-17V-5 (Mi-8MTV-5) and Mi-171Sh (Mi-8AMTSh) helicopters are designed for personnel transportation, and for carrying cargo internally or on the external sling. They can be used in search and rescue operations, and can also be equipped with weapons.

Russian Helicopters is developing a specialised Mi-8AMTSh-VA helicopter for Defence Ministry operations in Arctic conditions. The Mi-8AMTSh-V is an upgraded version of the Mi-8AMTSh assault helicopter, also known as the Terminator”, which has been in service since 2009. It is being developed based on the latest modification of the Mi-8AMTSh-V military transport helicopter, which boasts new Klimov-made VK-2500-03 turboshaft engines, a more powerful TA-14 auxiliary power unit and an upgraded avionics suite. the modified Mi-8 also featured an auxiliary electric generator, an ice-protection system and ski landing gear for landing on soft snow and swamps.

The development stage is over and the rotorcraft was expected to undergo testing in the second half of 2015. The Russian Defense Ministry said it may contract up to 100 transporters of this model, supporting the country's growing military presence in the Arctic. Moscow considers the resource-rich north a region of potential conflict and is upgrading its armed forces to be able to protect Russia's interests there.

The Mi-8 is the holder of a world record as far as the number of versions is concerned; their number by far exceeds one hundred. Modifications were developed at the Mil' Moscow Helicopter Plant, at the Kazan' and Ulan-Ude plants, at repair enterprises and directly in mil­itary units and Aeroflot flight detachments; some modifications were undertaken by foreign operators of the type. Sometimes they were not allotted any special designations; there were also cases when the same sub-type designation suffix was used repeatedly, especially when the variants were produced without consulting the Mil' firm. It would be difficult to enumerate all versions of the Mi-8. Hence only the most significant versions are described here.


  • Mi-8: The Hip-A
  • Mi-8A: The Hip-B
  • Mi-8T: The HIP C is a medium assault/ transport version. The probable armament is 57-mm rockets, bombs, or AT-2C/ SWATTER ATGMs.
  • Mi-8VPK: The HIP D is an airborne com-munications platform with rectangular communication canisters mounted on weapons racks.
  • Mi-8TVK: The HIP E is used as a gunship or direct air support platform. Airframe modifications add 2x external hardpoints for a total of 6, and mount a flexible 12.7-mm machinegun in the nose. The probable armament is 57-mm rockets, bombs, or AT-2/SWATTER ATGMs.
  • Mi-8TBK : The Hip-F
  • Mi-9: The HIP G is an airborne command post characterized by antennas, and Doppler radar on tailboom.
  • Mi-8MT/MTV/MTB/-171-17: The HIP H is an upgraded medium assault/ transport version. The designation Mi-17 is for export; the Russian armed forces called it Mi-8MT. The Mi-17 can be recognized because it has the tail rotor at the starboard side, instead of the port side. See separate Mi-17 entry.
  • Mi-8SMV: The HIP J is an airborne jamming platform characterized by small boxes on the left side of the fuselage.
  • Mi-8PPA: The HIP K is an airborne jamming platform characterized by 6x "X"-shaped antennas on the aft fuselage.
  • The Mi-14 Haze is a modification of Mi-8 for naval applications, mainly used against submarines. Mi-14 has a boat-like lower fuselage with pontoon on either side, retractable landing gear, a radar dome under the nose, and an internal weapons bay.

Transport and assault helicopters

Since the designation Mi-8TV, originally allocated in the OKB to a multipurpose Mi-8 with outriggers for external stores, was not officially adopted, it was used for the second time in 1974 for a heavily armed version. Its armament fit included an Afanas'yev A-l 2.7 heavy-calibre machine-gun on an NUV-l-2m flexible mount. The fuselage of the Mi-8TV was flanked with outriggers, each carrying three racks for external stores. The latter included bombs weighing 50 to 500 kg apiece, or UB-16-57 or UB-32-57 rocket pods with S-5 unguided rockets; two rails for 9M17E Falanga (Solifuge) anti-tank guided missiles were also mounted on each of the outriggers. To foreign customers the transport/assault helicopters were delivered in the Mi-8TB version in which the Falanga missile system was replaced by six 9K32 wire-guided missiles of the Mal'ootka (Baby) system. The overweight Mi-8TVs did not see widespread use in the Armed Forces, but com­bat experience gained in Afghanistan showed the expediency of arming the multi-purpose Mi-8T and Mi-8MT helicopters. As noted above, a number of versions appeared featuring different armour and armament fits, the latter including gunnery, rockets and other types of armament, either carried externally on the outrigger racks, or fuselage-mounted (Mi-8PPV, Mi-8BV, Mi-8MTVO and others). A troopship/assault version and a battlefield fire support version are envisaged in the pro­gramme for the development of the latest derivatives of theMi-8MTV(Mi-17-lV).

As a private venture financed by own means, specialists of the Mil' company and of the Ulan-Ude plant have developed on the basis of the Mi-8AMT a versatile transport and combat helicopter designated Mi-8AMTSh. Its export designation is Mi-171 Sh. It is equipped with a full range of guided and unguided weapons carried by the famous Mi-24; in a number of combat mission types it is just as effective as its combat-dedicated 'donor'. The helicopter is fitted with the 9M114 Shtoorm-V anti-tank guided missiles system (eight Shtoorm or Ataka missiles), pods with unguided rockets and various guns and machine-guns. It can be provided with piloting and naviga­tion equipment which enables it to be operated round the clock in any weather conditions. The Mi-8-AMTSh (Mi-171Sh) helicopter has successfully passed joint trials and entered series production. Several foreign customers have already expressed the wish to purchase the Mi-171Sh or to upgrade the military and civil models of the Mi-8 present­ly at their disposal to this standard.

Airborne command post helicopters

The first Mi-8VKPs (VKP - vozdooshnyy komahndnyy poonkt, ABCP) made their appearance at the beginning of 1970s; they were locally modified from production machines in the army units with due regard to the experience of operating similar ver­sions of the Mi-4. These machines were sometimes designated Mi-8VzPU - vozdooshnyy poonkt oopravleniya - 'aerial [troops] control post', i.e. ABCP). The first dedicated production ABCP version developed by the Mil' OKB -the Mi-9 (Mi-8IV)- appeared in 1977. It was equipped with a communications suite which included a special system of radios and relay stations and was intended for the com­manders of mechanized infantry, armour and aviation divisions. The Mi-8MT growth version served as a basis for the development in 1987 of new airborne control post vari­ants - the Mi-19 for the commanders of mechanized infantry and armour divisions and the Mi-19R for the com­manders of missile divisions.

ECM helicopters

The first ECM version developed in 1971 and designated Mi-8SMV was intended for the protection of tactical aviation from being hit by the enemy's surface-to-air missiles. Installed in its cargo hold was a heliborne version of the Smal'ta-V ECM suite with the associated con­trol panel, and the fuselage was flanked by transmitter/receiver antennas. In the course of its oper­ational life the Mi-8SMV underwent numerous upgrades designed to enhance its mission capabilities. Another ECM version developed in 1974, the Mi-8PP (postanovschchik pomekh - ECM aircraft) equipped with the Pole (pronounced poleh -field) set was intended for jamming ground-based early warning, guid­ance and target designation radars. The onboard active jam­mers enabled the helicopter to be used also for signals intelligence (SIGINT) duties. This version which was put into squadron service underwent further development in 1980 and 1982. The result was a new modification designated Mi-8PPA, the A referring to the Akatsiya (Acacia) jammer. In the 1980s the upgraded Mi-8MT evolved into a whole range of ECM helicopters: the Mi-8MTI (Mi-13), M1-8MTP, Mi-8MTPB, M1-8MTPI, Mi-8MTPSh, Mi-8MTD, Mi-8MTS, Mi-8MTR1, Mi-8MTR2, Mi-8MTU, Mi-8MTShl, Mi-8MTSh2, Mi-8MTSh3, Mi-8MTYa, M1-8MT-1S and others. Corresponding ver­sions intended for export deliveries were designated Mi-17PI, Mi-17P, Mi-1 7PG etc. The acquisition of Mi-8PPA, Mi-8MTP and M1-8MTU heli­copters by the Syrian Air Force in 1986 helped stop the escalation of hostilities in Lebanon. Russian radio-electronics firm Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (KRET) announced that it is handing over the first batch of a new helicopter-mounted electronic warfare system known as the 'Richag-AV' to the armed forces.

The Richag-AV system, mounted on the Mi-8MTPR1 (a variant of the Mi-8MTB5-1 helicopter) is said to have no global equivalent. Its electronic countermeasures system is designed to jam radar and other detection systems in the aims of defending aircraft, helicopters, drones, ground and naval forces against air-to-air and surface-to-air defense systems within a radius of several hundred kilometers. It can be mounted on units from any branch of the armed forces, including helicopters and airplanes, as well as ground and ship-based forces.

The Mi8-MTPR1-based Richag-AV platform, using multi-beam antenna arrays with DRFM technology, is designed to actively jam and thus 'blind' radar systems in order to defend against radio-electronic guided weapons systems. In a combat situation, the system would operate as part of an aviation shock attack group aimed at breaking through virtually any defense system, blinding everything up to and including the US MIM-104 'Patriot' anti-aircraft missile system.

In addition to working as a signal jamming system, Richag-AV is capable of carrying out radar-based intelligence gathering, which involves the finding of foreign sources of electromagnetic radiation. With an onboard database on different types of military installations, the system is capable of quickly determining the type of target, thus allowing it to jam it effectively.

The Russian armed forces received three Mi-8MTPR-1 helicopters equipped with the Richag-Av on Wednesday, and will receive a total of 18 such systems by October 2016, at a total cost of 11.5 billion rubles ($186 million).

Medevac helicopters

In 1972 the Mil' OKB specialists developed a version of the Mi-8 intended for rendering aid to the vic­tims of a nuclear strike and for their evacuation. In the following year the Mi-8MB version was produced, designed to serve for medical aid and evacuation. For the first time it was equipped not only with stretch­ers for the evacuation of casualties, but also with an onboard operating theatre. The upgraded Mi-8MT served as a basis for producing in 1978 the Mi-8MTB, an armoured flying hospital which later proved very useful in Afghanistan; the Mi-8MTN version designed for providing medical aid to cosmonauts and evacuating them from the space capsule's landing site appeared in 1979. Somewhat later, the Mi-8MTM flying hospital made its appearance. The present-day base­line Mi-8MTV serves as basis for the production of the Mi-8MTV-3G fly­ing hospital, the Mi-8MTVM mede­vac machine, the Mi-8MTVMPS medevac/SAR helicopter, and a number of other variants for similar missions. Export versions of the flying hospitals, designated Mi-17G and Mi-17-1VA, have been ordered by foreign customers.

Search and rescue versions

The first SAR version of the Mi-8 designated Mi-8PS (not to be con­fused with the VIP transport version of the same name; in this case PS stands for poiskovo-spasahtel'nyy) appeared in 1976. It was intended for picking up survivors of ship­wrecks from the sea surface; its crew complement included a spe­cially trained rescue worker who could conduct rescue operations in stormy seas. In the following year two Mi-8T helicopters were con­verted into the Mi-8SP whose mission was to ensure the spotting and evacuation of space capsules returning to the Earth. A modern­ized SAR version intended for saving cosmonauts and aircraft crews in distress was allocated the desig­nation Mi-8SPA. The Mi-8KP tested in 1978 was a command post for SAR operations fitted with the Saigak (Saiga antelope) communi­cations set. The modernized Mi-8MT was used in 1979 for developing the Mi-8MTD version which was intended for conducting visual and radio-aided search for crews and passengers of aircraft in dis­tress and for picking up the sur­vivors in the hover. Later, in the 1980s, several further derivatives of the Mi-8MT appeared, intended for spotting and evacuation of space capsules and cosmonauts after their landings; they included the Mi-8MN and Mi-8MTT. A special SAR version for use in the Arctic received the designation Mi-8MA.

Mine countermeasures helicopters. When the need arose for heli­copters capable of mine-clearing in the Suez canal, five Mi-8Ts were converted into the Mi-8BT MCM version in 1974 (BT = booksirovschik [minnykh] trahlov, towing mine-sweeper). Later they were used as test beds for various items of maritime equipment.

Other military versions

In 1974 a Mi-8T was equipped with a device for the laying of a telephone cable up to 10 km (6.2 miles) long. A year later, the Mi-8AV (Mi-8VSM) made its appear­ance. This was a mine-layer ver­sion intended for distribution of anti-tank mines. Three years later it was joined by the Mi-8AD intended for laying anti-personnel mines. In 1975 the first radio-relay version was produced by converting a Mi-8T; same year an experimental heliborne transmitter for TV communications was tested.

In mid-1970s the Soviet Armed forces received the Mi-8R (Mi-8GR) tactical reconnaissance heli­copter, the Mi-8TG (Mi-8TARK) artillery spotting helicopter (not to be confused with the civil Mi-8TG running on natural gas!) and the Mi-8VD radiation intelligence (RINT) helicopter. A reconnaissance derivative of the Mi-8MT bears the designation Mi-8MTA. In 1977 the Mi-8TZ fuel tanker (toplivozaprahvschchik) intended for refuelling other helicopters and tanks was developed and put into production. At the same time tests were conducted of the Mi-8 TECh-24 {tekhniko-eksplooatatsionnaya chahst' [dlya mi-] dvahdtsat' chetyre = Mi-24 maintenance facility) - a flying maintenance and servicing workshop which carried special equipment for con­ducting routine servicing and repair of Mi-24 helicop­ters.

In 1978 the Border Guard troops received their own special version based on the Mi-8T. The baseline Mi-8MT served as a basis for such versions as the Mi-8MTF photographic reconnais­sance version (1984), the Mi-8MTS and Mi-8MTT RINT machines (1986), the Mi-8MTF smoke-screen laying version and a training version for the practicing of assault troops landing operations(l 987), a heli­copter with a SAR equipment intended for picking up unmanned target aircraft, remotely-piloted vehicles (RPVs) and cruise missiles (1988), the Mi-8MA version intend­ed for patrolling the borders and the 200-mile economic zone, and several other versions. At present a new version, the Mi-8MTKO night-capable reconnaissance helicopter fitted with a multi-function round-the-clock observation system, is undergoing trials in the North Caucasus.

VariantMi-8 Mi-17 Hip H
Engine2 TV2-117, 1482 hp each 2 TV3-117VM 1900 hp each
Weight 11100-12000 kg 13000 kg
Maximum speed230-250 km/h 250 km/h
Cruising speed 225 km/h220 - 240 km/h
Service Ceiling4500 m 6000 m

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Page last modified: 12-11-2015 19:22:29 ZULU