- Mi-28N Night Hunter
Russia’s Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters are grounded pending completion of the investigation into Tuesday’s crash in which the pilot died and his co-pilot was hurt. The Mi-28N belonged to the Budennovsk-based 487th Helicopter Regiment in the Southern MD.
Unnamed sources tell RIA Novosti investigators attribute the crash to engine failure caused by metal shavings in the engines or gear box. But one experienced test pilot told Vzglyad.ru that shavings usually don’t cause a sudden loss of control or engine failure.
Over the last year, problems with the Mi-28N’s gear box, flight controls, and tactical performance have been reported in the media.
In January, Izvestiya’s Dmitriy Litovkin visited the flight training center in Torzhok to look at the Mi-28N. He discussed the June 2009 crash of an Mi-28N at the Gorokhovets training range with the center’s chief, Colonel Andrey Popov. Litovkin said people believe that crash occurred when powder gases from a rocket firing got in the helicopter’s engines. Here’s a video. Popov acknowledged the Mi-28N’s growing pains, and said the manufacturer is constantly modifying the aircraft.
This certainly sounds like production problems to these nonexpert ears. There’s still a struggle between those who back the Mi-28N and others who favor the Ka-52 as Russia’s primary attack helicopter. With stronger state support, the Night Hunter has been winning the battle, but this accident might hurt its case. Meanwhile, a second Mi-28N squadron is supposed to be established at Budennovsk this year.
Posted in Air Forces, Defense Industry, Force Modernization
Tagged 487th Helicopter Regiment, Accident, Alligator, Budennovsk, Crash, Gorokhovets, Ka-52, Mi-28N, Night Hunter, Torzhok
Mi-28N (photo: Denis Rossin)
Yesterday Rostov Helicopter Plant (‘Rosvertol’) General Director Boris Slyusar said the Russian Armed Forces are the priority for Mi-28N ‘Night Hunter’ deliveries, despite what he claims are many profitable offers from abroad. According to ITAR-TASS, he said:
“We have many requests for the Mi-28N, but the RF Defense Ministry still doesn’t have these systems in sufficient quantity, and we will take its interests into account first.”
Slyusar didn’t give the number of Mi-28N helicopters in Russian forces, but he said the North Caucasus Military District (NCMD) has about 20 ‘Night Hunters,’ and there will be more. He added:
“Our task is to create in the district’s [NCMD’s] troops in 2011 two groupings of Mi-28N.”
Who knows what he means by groupings. Squadrons? A second squadron or two additional squadrons? The information on the number of Mi-28N delivered is unclear and contradictory. In late 2009, Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov rather dubiously claimed Russia had already procured 27.
In May, a ‘Rosvertol’ marketing official said Russia would receive two squadrons of Mi-28N helicopters before 2011. She said two Mi-28N went to the pilot training center at Torzhok in early 2008, and ten more — apparently for the NCMD’s Budennovsk-based 487th Helicopter Regiment — were delivered in 2009. In mid-2009, ‘Helicopters of Russia’ General Director Andrey Shibitov also told Interfaks-AVN the Russian military had 12 Mi-28N helicopters.
So the question still stands: a second squadron of maybe 10 helicopters, or two additional squadrons? One thing’s certain, this goal’s been pushed from 2010 to 2011.
‘Rosvertol’ General Director Slyusar indicated his company sold 10 billion rubles of products in 2009, and this year sales are more than 15 billion rubles. Receipts from domestic and export sales are about equal. By 2015, the company has an ambitious goal of $1 billion in sales. Slyusar says the company is moving on this plan with modernization, equipment purchases, and people.
Posted in Air Forces, Defense Industry, Force Modernization, Ground Troops
Tagged Andrey Shibitov, Boris Slyusar, Budennovsk, Helicopters, Helicopters of Russia, Mi-28N, NCMD, Night Hunter, Procurement, Rostov Helicopter Plant, Rosvertol, SKVO