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Apparently the Mil Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopter’s design was not as successful as the Ka-50 Hokum

The Mi-28 (Western reporting name Havoc) is a Russian attack helicopter. The first prototype made its first flight in 1982. Three more prototypes were built. Two of theme were completed to improved Mi-28A standard with uprated engines. The last production-standard prototype also had a moving, gyro-stabilized, undernose electro-optical sensor turret and wing-tip pods carrying electronic counter measures and chaff dispensers.

To meet a Russian Army requirement for a new attack helicopter the Mi-28 competed against a Kamov Ka-50. During the trials the Mi-28 was reportedly defeated by the Ka-50. However Mil received a production order for a small batch of Mi-28 helicopters, most likely in order to prevent the manufacturer from going bankrupt.

The original Mi-28 and the improved Mi-28A versions never reached mass production. The definitive production version became the further improved Mi-28N which had an added night attack capability. In 2005 Russian MoD ordered 67 Mi-28N helicopters. Series production began during the same year.

Deliveries of production helicopters commenced 2008. At the time Russian Army also operated a couple of early-production Mi-28N helicopters. Deliveries of all 67 units were completed in 2013. By 2020 Russian Army reportedly operated around 90 Mi-28N plus another 12 Mi-28UB combat trainers. Since 2020 the Mi-28N is no longer produced and production switched to an improved Mi-28NM version.

A small number of these helicopters are in service with the Russian Army. It was planned that by 2027 a total of 98 Mi-28NM gunships will be delivered to the Russian Army. The Mi-28N, and likely the latest Mi-28NM, helicopters were widely used during the 2022 Russian ɩɳʋλꜱɩσɳ to Ukraine. A couple of these helicopters were shot down by Ukrainians.

This attack helicopter is being offered for export customers. Some sources report that the Mi-28 is in service with Kenya. A total of 19 helicopters were scheduled to be delivered to Iraq until 2016. Algeria ordered 42 of Mi-28NE gunships.

The Mi-28 has a conventional helicopter gunship layout with the pilot in the rear and gunner in front. It is armed with a 30 mm trainable cannon housed in a turret under the nose. Twin 150-round ammunition boxes are co-mounted to traverse, elevate and depress together with the gun. So a total of 300 rounds of ammunition are carried for the main gun. The gun is identical to that of Russian BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle and uses the same ammunition. Each ammunition box can be loaded with different types of ammunition. This gunship can also carry two pods with 80 mm unguided rockets and 16 anti-tank guided missiles.

For anti-armor missions the Mi-28 can be equipped with Ataka, Shturm-V or Vikhr anti-tank guided missiles. The Ataka missiles are radar guided have range of up to 8-10 km and penetrate 950 mm of steel armor behind Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA). The Shturm-V missiles have a range of up to 7 km and penetrate up to 800 mm of steel armor behind ERA. The Vikhr laser-guided missiles have a range of up to 10 km and penetrate up to 1 000 mm or steel armor behind ERA. These missiles are capable of destroying most main battle tanks.

Crew compartment is well armored. It withstands hits from 12.7 mm armor-piercing rounds and 20 mm HE-FRAG rounds. It is claimed that this helicopter can not be defeated by a single short-range anti-aircraft missile.

The Mi-28’s cockpit is compatible with night vision goggles; the pilot has a head-up display and one CRT on which TV imaging can be displayed. The primary sensor package comprises the optical sights and laser rangefinder in an undernose turret. The crew are protected by energy-absorbing seats and an emergency escape system allows the crew to escape safely by parachute. A hatch in the port side, to the rear of the wing, gives access to the avionics compartment and a space large enough to accommodate two or three passengers during a combat rescue.

A study made in 2011 revealed that the Mi-28N helicopter has a mean time between failures of 8.1 hours. The venerable Mi-24 had an average failure rating of 13.9 hours. So the Mi-28, or at least helicopters produced until 2011, can not be called reliable machines.

Unit cost of the Mi-28N is around $18 million.


Mi-28 is a baseline version. It made its first flight in 1982. This helicopter never reached mass production. Only two prototypes were ever built.

Mi-28A is an improved version with uprated engines exhausting via downward-inclined diffusers. This version also never reached full-scale production. Only two production-standard prototypes were built. The second prototype also had a moving, gyro-stabilized, undernose electro-optical sensor turret and wing-tip pods carrying electronic counter measures and chaff dispensers.

Mi-28N is a further improved version with night attack capability. Letter “N” in the designated stands for “Night”. In 1994 Russian army funding allowed modification of the first Mi-28A prototype to Mi-28N configuration. This introduced a mast-mounted MMW Kinzhal V or Arbalet radar, composite rotor blades, forward-looking infra-red, an electronic flight instrumentation system cockpit, improved armament options including Igla-V air-to-air missiles and uprated TV3-117VK engines. The Mi-28N made its first flight in 1997. Production commenced in 2005. Deliveries of the Mi-28N attack helicopters to the Russian Army began in 2006. However officially the type was adopted by the Russian Army only in 2013. So the Mi-28N became a definitive production version of the Mi-28. This helicopter was produced until 2020, when production switched to the improved Mi-28NE version.

Mi-28NE Night Hunter is an export version of the Mi-28N. In 2013 Iraq ordered 10 of these attack helicopters. Later the additional units were ordered. A total of 19 helicopters were scheduled to be delivered to Iraq until 2016. However it seems that these deliveries were running behind schedule. By 2020 only 11 Mi-28NE were delivered to Iraq, plus another 4 Mi-28UB combat trainers. Algeria ordered 42 of these helicopters and by 2020 a small number of these helicopters were in service with Algerian military.

Mi-28NM is an upgraded version of the Mi-28N for the Russian Army. Development of this helicopter began in 2008. It has a lot of improvements. This version is fully integrated into the data transfer system by all channels, including video, target position and other data. Also this helicopter can receive data from UAVs and can also control them. It made its first flight in 2016. In 2019 this helicopter was tested during combat operations in Syria. In 2020 production switched from the Mi-28N to this improved Mi-28NM standard. A small number of these helicopters is in service with the Russian Army. It is planned that by 2027 a total of 98 Mi-28NMs will be delivered to the Russian Army.

Mi-28UB is a combat trainer helicopter. It is based on the Mi-28N. It can be used for pilot training, however this helicopter retains full combat capability. Some sources report that Russian Army planned to obtain 30 of these helicopters. By 2020 Russian Army operated 12 of these combat trainers. This version is also in service with export operators, including Iraq (at least 4 units) and Algeria.

Mil also proposes a naval variant of the Mi-28 for support of amphibious naval assaults.


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