New high-speed helicopter testbed for Russia


One of Russia’s venerable Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters has been highly modified to become a Demonstrator PSV for high-speed flight.

Designers used the Mi-24K Hind as a starting point for developing this new experimental aircraft, turning the two-pilot attack helicopter into a single-pilot technology demonstrator. The aim of the testing is to take Russian helicopter technology to a higher level for both performance and avionics. First flight occurred on December 23, 2016, from Russian helicopter giant Mil’s plant near Moscow, Russia.

Multiple technologies will be flown on the PSV, including new rotor blade designs and avionics. Currently, the helicopter is equipped with curved-tip rotor blades with the aim of improving speed and stability at higher speeds. It is hoped to achieve this with the same Klimov VK-2500 engines (2,400hp each) used in Russia’s most advanced attack helicopters, the KA-50/52 Black Shark/Alligator and Mi-28 Havoc. Curved rotor tips also are known to decrease the audible output of a rotor system, although it is unclear if this is one of the objectives of the PSV testing.

The aim is to increase cruising speed by 30% over the standard Mi-24/35 Hind, achieving 193-194kts compared to 143kts on standard models. Top speed is also an area where Mil hopes this new technology demonstrator will show large improvements, with hopes that it will reach a top speed of 216kts compared to 180kts on current models. A 30% increase in climb rate is also one of the goals.

If these new rotors prove their worth, Mil can install them on their Mi-28 attack helicopters beginning around 2018, which should increase cruising and top speed by 10% and 13% respectively.

A new modular avionics concept with open architecture developed by the Russian electronics firm KERT is also being tested. This system could be adapted to large number of old and new Russian helicopters making future upgrades and enhancements easier.

January 14, 2016

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