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Mi-8 HIP - Civil Variants

VIP transports

As is well known, the Mi-8 was from the out­set regarded by the customers as a baseline model suitable for conversion into different vari­ants of comfortable VIP (executive, or, in Russian terminology, 'salon') transports for the trans­portation and evacuation of high-ranking offi­cials of the Party, the Government and the Armed Forces; these included a 'presidential' deluxe version for the head of the Soviet state. The first VIP ('salon') versions intended for series production and based on the Mi-8T and Mi-8P appeared in 1969 and were designated Mi-8S and Mi-8PS respectively. They had a special interior featuring comfortable armchairs for work and rest, and were equipped with a high-capacity system for governmental wireless coded communications which was con­stantly updated. The helicopters were produced in seven-, nine- and eleven-seat versions ( the M1-8PS-7, Mi-8PS-9 and Mi-8PS-11 respectively). To this day the Ulan-Ude plant produces VIP versions of the Mi-8 with TV2-117AG engines, designated Mi-8APS, Mi-8AP-2, Mi-8AP-4 and Mi-8TP. When the Mi-8MT entered series production, it also served as a basis for a number of VIP versions, such as the Mi-8S-1, Mi-8S-2, Mi-8MD, Mi-8MS, Mi-8MSO, M1-8MSD, Mi-8MO, Mi-8TP and others. At present similar modifications are being developed on the basis of the M1-8MTV. The VIP helicopters developed by the Mil' OKB are popular abroad, too. The Mi-17S is used by a number of foreign heads of state and military leaders.

Flying crane helicopters

In 1970 one of the production Mi-8Ts was used for testing an experimental sling system for the carriage of under sling loads possessing increased load-carrying capacity. It was attached directly to the mainframes in the cargo hold. The main cable carrying the cargo passed through a hatch in the floor of the cargo hold which could be closed by a cover. Five years later, a Mi-8T was experimentally fitted with an on-board closed-circuit TV system for monitoring the under sling load. Another flying-crane version presently in operational service - the Mi-8MTV-K - has an additional operator's cockpit with a full set of controls. Installed in place of the rear clamshell doors, it affords the operator a good view of the under sling load and of the installation site.

Research aircraft

In 1981 two Mi-8Ts were equipped with a special 'Makfar-1 1' set of instruments for conducting aerial geophysical prospecting work in the republic of Yakutia (Eastern Siberia). In 1989 the Mi-8RF version was developed; it was fitted with the RF radiometer set for thermal imaging of the Earth's surface in the visible part of the IR spectrum. In 1990 twelve Mi-8MTs were converted to mobile weather research stations, and three years later a Mi-8MTV was reconfigured into an ecological laboratory.

Flying test beds

From the very beginning of their existence Mi-8 hel­icopters were used for conversion, both at the experi­mental production facility of the Mil' OKB and at pro­duction plants, to various flying test beds for testing new assemblies and items of equipment intended for future Mi-8 versions and for the Mi-14, Mi-24 and later the Mi-28 helicopters then under development. Other branches and institutions of the defense indus­try, too, used the unique capabilities of the Mi-8 for testing the products of their own technology. Numerous modifications specially developed at the Mil' Moscow Helicopter Plant were used in the process of testing prototype aircraft, helicopters, mis­siles, ships etc. The capacious cargo hold of the helicopter proved very convenient for the installation of assemblies to be tested and experimental devices and instruments. Mi-8s often served as flying test beds in the research institutes and design bureaux engaged in the development and testing of equipment for different branches of defense and civil industry - for example, in the Research Institute of Aeronautical Equipment (NIIAO) and in the Leninets (Leninist) Scientific and Production Association (now the Leninets Holding Co).

Other civil versions

In 1975 a special version for agricultural duties was developed on the basis of the Mi-8T. Designated Mi-8ATS, it was fitted with external strap-on devices -hoppers for chemicals and dusters for spreading them. Another agricultural version powered by TV2-117F engines was designated Mi-8FSKh. A similar variant powered by TV3-1 1 7MT engines received the desig­nation Mi-8MTSKh. In 1977 the Mi-8TL version made its appear­ance; it was intended for fight­ing of forest fires. A similar mod­ification, but on the basis of the Mi-8MT, was developed in 1983. A year earlier, a Mi-8T was converted into a version equipped with the ZSVS broadcasting station. In 1986 special 'arctic' versions of the Mi-8MT and Mi-8MTV were built at the Kazan' plant; they were provided with heating and fitted with extra fuel tanks and additional communications equipment. Besides, numerous other trans­port and passenger modifications of the Mi-8, Mi-8MT (Mi-17) and Mi-8MTV (Mi-17-lV) were developed, tailored to the needs of various customers at home and abroad who operate the helicopters under special natural and climatic con­ditions. They differed in avionics and life-support equipment; sometimes they received special designa­tions. At present a fire-fighting version of the Mi-8MTV is under development; it will be fitted with an under-slung water tank incorporating a foaming agent container, and with a pump unit carried externally on the onboard hoist.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:19:00 ZULU