Russia’s upgraded Mi-28NM attack helicopter has been fitted with modern weapon systems as part of the aviation armament complex, including a new generation of guided missiles that enable the Mi-28NM to strike targets without entering the area of effect of enemy air defenses.
Mi-28NM is an upgraded version of Mi-28N that has been in development since 2009. Chief Designer of the Combat Helicopters Program at the Mil and Kamov National Helicopter Center (part of the Russian Helicopters Group within the state tech corporation Rostec) Vitaly Shcherbina, in an interview he gave to the Russian news agency TASS on Tuesday said;
“In the course of joint work, we focused on expanding the range of air-launched weapons of the helicopter’s airborne armament as the basic area of improving Mi-28N baseline helicopters. For the purpose of solving this task, the airborne armament of the Mi-28NM embraced next-generation round-the-clock missiles, including multirole munitions allowing the gunship to strike targets without entering the area of the enemy’s effective air defenses, and also next-generation rockets of a broad range of their employment and enhanced capacity, as well as bombing weapons of various caliber.”
The updated helicopter features a new hull configuration, modernized engines and an auxiliary power unit, as well as new onboard electronic warfare and advanced weapons.
The experience of improving the combat training of the Mi-28UB was also taken into account by the designers of the “Night Hunter” during its modernization. A second control group was installed in the new helicopter’s front cockpit. Aside from that, the cockpit has undergone modernization. In a challenging combat situation, the commander and pilot can now obtain information about the environment and the operation of all vehicle systems in a wider and more open format, which improves crew situational awareness, encourages interaction, and speeds up decision-making.
A new observation, flight, and navigation complex with high-speed computer facilities has also been installed on the helicopter. The cockpit is well-armored, with protection against armor-piercing projectiles up to a caliber of 20mm. The new night vision systems mounted on the helicopter gives crew increased capability by allowing combat missions to be carried out 24 hours a day and recognizing targets at long distances.
The Mi-28NM is the Mi-28 helicopter’s night combat variant. “NM” stands for “Notchnoy Modernizirovannii” (Night Modernization or Night Upgraded).
In addition, the Kamikaze UAV system was integrated into the Mi-28NM. An Mi-28NM attack helicopter can launch one or several kamikaze drones when it enters a designated area, the chief designer explained:
“Upon detecting enemy targets, the helicopter’s crew issues target acquisition and exercises control of their destruction. The technical assignment for the R&D work on creating the Mi-28NM combat helicopter stipulates automated interaction with Korsar and Forpost-R medium-range drones both through an army aviation automated command post and directly between the helicopter and the drone.”
On 27 June, 2019, Russian Helicopters Group announced that it had signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense for the delivery of 98 Mi-28NM attack helicopters to Russian troops between 2020 and 2027.
The first two attack helicopters from the modernized Mi-28NM project were delivered to the Russian Armed Forces on 30 December last year.