The MI-8 HIP is a multi-role transport helicopter capable of carring troops or supplies as well as conducting armed attackes with rockets and guns. Along with the related, more powerful Mil Mi-17, the Mi-8 is among the world's most-produced helicopters, used by over 50 countries. As of 2015, it is the third most common operational military aircraft in the world.
It is often used to resupply guerrillas, insert detachments or provide close air support to attacking units. Designed as a transport helicopter, the Mi-8 proved a multi-purpose machine. The cable external suspension, equipped with the weight-measuring device, makes it possible to carry large size cargoes weighing up to three tons. If required, it became both combat, rescue and artillery observation helicopter.
The large, five-blade main rotor is mounted over the engine at the body midsection, while a weapon-carrying platform is mounted at the lower body midsection. External stores are mounted on weapons racks on each side of the fuselage. The HIP C has four external hardpoints; the HIP E, HIP H, have six; other variants have none. Not all available munitions are employed at one time, mission dictates weapon configuration.
Twin turboshaft engines are mounted on top of the fuselage with two round air intakes just above the cockpit and rounded exhaust ports aft. It is powered by two TV2117A turboshafts (2 x 1120 kW, or 2 x 1250 kW over a short time). The Mi-8 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 airframe has a classic structure made of light metal alloys. The fuselage consists of a long, bus-like body with a rounded nose and glassed-in cockpit. Interior seats are removable for cargo carrying. The rear clamshell doors open, an internal winch facilitates loading of heavy freight. Floor has tiedown rings throughout. The cockpit accommodates a crew of three. The freight cabin is 5.34 m long, 2.32 m wide and 1.8 m high. There is a large sliding door forward on the portside, and a clamshell freight-loading door in the rear. The landing gear is a non-retractable tricycle type with a twin-wheel nose unit. On each side of the fuselage there is a pod for an external fuel tank, with a total capacity of 1830 litres. The two fuel pods are offset and mounted low on the body, which features an upswept rear section and tricycle landing gear. The tail boom tapers to the small, swept-back, and tapered fin with rotor on top right or left, with small flats mounted forward of the fin.
The basic serial produced multi-purpose transport version can carry up to 24 passengers, 4000 kg of load, or 12 wounded in case of a medical evacuation. The cargo cabin is equipped with a winch (lifting capacity of 150 kg). Loads up to 3000 kg can be carried underslung on a pylon under the fuselage. The aircraft carries a rescue hoist capable to 150 kg, and a cargo sling system capable to 3,000 kg.
It was developed since the early 1950s as a replacement of the preceding Mi-4. Its first flight was on 9 June 1961, the prototype of the final twin-turbine version (Hip-B) first flew on 17 September 1962. Production started at the end of 1965. and By 1985, more than 1500 Mi-8 were built. 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. Kazan is the oldest helicopter manufacturing plant in Russia and makes Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters. the Mi-8 was exported to Czechoslovakia, Algeria, East Germany, Hungary, Bolivia, Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Finland, and Ethiopia.
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