The Mil Mi-28 (NATO reporting name "Havoc") is a Russian all-weather, day-night, military tandem, two-seat anti-armor attack helicopter. It is a dedicated attack helicopter with no intended secondary transport capability, better optimized than the Mil Mi-24 gunship for the role. It carries a single gun in an undernose barbette, plus external loads carried on pylons beneath stub wings.
In 1972, following completion of the Mil Mi-24, development began on a unique attack helicopter with transport capability. The new design had a reduced transport capability (3 troops instead of 8) and omitted the cabin, to provide better overall performance and higher top speed. Improved performance was important for its intended role fighting against tanks and enemy helicopters and covering helicopter landing operations. Initially, many different designs were considered, including an unconventional project with two main rotors, placed with engines on tips of wings (in perpendicular layout); and in one similarity with the late 1960s-era American Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne attack helicopter design, with an additional pusher propeller on the tail. In 1977, a preliminary design was chosen, in a classic single-rotor layout. It lost its similarity to the Mi-24, and even the canopies were smaller, with flat surfaces.
Design work on the Mi-28 began under Marat Tishchenko in 1980. In 1981, a design and a mock-up were accepted. The prototype (no. 012) was first flown on 10 November 1982. The second prototype (no. 022) was completed in 1983. In 1984, the Mi-28 completed the first stage of state trials, but in October 1984 the Soviet Air Force chose the more advanced Kamov Ka-50 as the new anti-tank helicopter. The Mi-28 development was continued, but given lower priority. In December 1987 Mi-28 production in Rosvertol in Rostov on Don was approved.
An early production Mi-24 was fitted with an air data boom as an early test for the Mi-28's technologies. Later, a few Mi-24Ds were fitted up with the Mi-28's radome mount for testing the sighting-flight-navigational complex's abilities, and others had redesigned fuselages that closely resemble the future Mi-28, but with rounded cockpits.
In January 1988, the first Mi-28A prototype (no. 032) flew. It was fitted with more powerful engines and an "X" type tail rotor instead of the three-blade version. The Mi-28A debuted at the Paris Air Show in June 1989. In 1991 the second Mi-28A (no. 042) was completed. The Mi-28A program was cancelled in 1993 because it was deemed uncompetitive with the Ka-50, and in particular, it was not all-weather capable.
A Mil Mi-28N on display
The Mi-28N was unveiled in 1995, the N designation meaning "night". The prototype (no. 014) first flew on 14 November 1996. The most significant feature is a radar in a round cover above the main rotor, similar to that of the American AH-64D Apache Longbow. Mi-28N also has improved tor vision and an aiming device under the nose, including a TV camera and FLIR. Due to funding problems, development was interrupted. A second prototype with an improved rotor design was unveiled in March 2004 at Rosvertol.
Changes in the military situation after the Cold War made specialized anti-tank helicopters less useful. The advantages of the Mi-28N, like all-weather action ability, lower cost, and similarity to the Mi-24, have become important. In 2003, the head of Russian Air Forces stated that the Mi-28N and Ka-50 attack helicopters will become the standard Russian attack helicopter.
The first serial Mi-28N was delivered to the Army on 5 June 2006. By 2015, 67 Mi-28Ns are planned to be purchased, when the Mi-24 is to be completely replaced.
Mil also developed an export variant of the Mi-28N, designated Mi-28NE, and a simpler day helicopter variant, the Mi-28D, based on the Mi-28N design, but without radar and FLIR.
A Russian Air Force Mi-28
The Mi-28 is a new-generation attack helicopter that functions as an air-to-air and air-to-ground partner for the Mi-24 Hind and Ka-50 Hokum. The five-blade main rotor is mounted above the body midsection, and short, wide, tapered, weapon-carrying wings are mounted to the rear of body midsection. Two turboshaft engines in pods are mounted alongside the top of the fuselage with downturned exhausts. The fuselage is slender and tapers to the tail boom and nose. It features a tandem, stepped-up cockpits and a cannon mounted beneath the belly, with non-retractable tricycle tail-wheel type landing gear. This energy-absorbing landing gear and seats protect the crew in a crash landing or in a low-altitude vertical fall. The crew is able to survive a vertical fall of up to 12 m/s. The Mi-28 has a fully armoured cabin, including the windshield, which withstands impact by 7.62 and 12.7mm bullets and 20mm shell fragments.
The helicopter design is based on the conventional pod and boom configuration, with a tail rotor. The main rotor