Russia’s modernized Mi-28NM attack helicopter will be fitted with a new guided missile with a range of more than 25 kilometers, an aircraft industry source told TASS on Wednesday.
At the moment, the maximum range of guided missiles used by Russian combat helicopters does not exceed 15 kilometers.
“A new missile, codenamed ‘Article 305,’ is being designed for Mi-28NM. It is intended to destroy armored vehicles and reinforced concrete fortifications in daytime and at night. The range of the missile will exceed 25 kilometers,” the source said, adding that one helicopter will carry up to four such missiles on each of its two pylons.
The missile will be guided by the on-board inertial navigation system. Information about the target’s location will be uploaded into the system during the launch. The helicopter, in its turn, will receive the information from its own detection systems or from the integrated troop and weapon management system.
During the final stage of its flight, the new missile will activate the homing device to locate the target in the designated area and to destroy it.
The helicopter’s crew will receive a video signal from the missile via a protected communication channel.
TASS has been unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the State Duma (lower house of parliament) committee on defense on March 11 that new guided missiles with increased range have been developed for Russian attack helicopters on the outcomes of the military operation in Syria.
“Thanks to our experience in Syria, our helicopters have received light multifunctional guided missiles with significantly increased range - up to 15 kilometers,” the Minister said.
The Mi-28NM helicopter gunship is designed to search for and destroy low-speed air targets, tanks, armored and non-armored vehicles as well as enemy manpower in daytime and at night, in all weather conditions.
The first Mi-28NM helicopter was made in 2009. Being an upgraded variant of the Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter, it differs significantly from its predecessor. The Mi-28NM onboard radar equipment comprises an innovative helmet-mounted imaging and pointing system. The helicopter is equipped with an N025 radar station, which makes it possible to carry out round watch. The upgrade also has a new EW system.
In addition, the Mi-28 NM helicopter has a modified fuselage and modernized engines; a radio-electronic onboard system and a target sight system; an auxiliary power plant and equipment for communication with unmanned aerial vehicles.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said on March 7 that the Defense Ministry planned to sign a contract for the delivery of first six or 18 Mi-28NM rotorcraft soon.