The Mil-series of helicopters stem from the design bureau of Mikhail Mil. Nearly all Soviet-era helicopters are from the Mil design bureau, except for the Kamov helicopters. The Mi-24 was the first purpose-built helicopter gunship in the Soviet military forces. Unlike the slimmer US-made AH-1G Cobra, however, the Mi-24 was not designed solely as such; the Hind was larger due to a 6-to-8 man troop compartment in the lower fuselage, as it was meant both as troop transport and attack helicopter. The Hind has four main wing hardpoints along with two on the wingtips; a typical load consists of four large unguided rocket pods and a pair of wingtip double launch rails, each with two guided anti-tank missiles. NATO designated the production "Hind A", the pre-production "Hind B", and the unarmed trainer models "Hind C."
The design of the Mi-24 is based on a conventional pod and boom, with a five-blade main rotor and three-blade tail rotor. It has retractable tricycle nose-wheel landing gear.
The two crew (pilot and weapons operator) are accommodated in tandem armoured cockpits with individual canopies and flat, bulletproof glass windscreens. The main cabin can accommodate eight troops or four stretchers.
Mi-24 Hind upgradesRussian Army Mi-24s are being upgraded with new avionics including thermal imagers. Other upgrade packages are available, including that of Denel / Kentron of South Africa which includes Eloptro infrared sighting systems and Kentron Mokopa anti-tank missiles, and IAI Tamam which has HMOSP (helicopter multi-mission optronic stabilised payload) with FLIR, TV and autotracker, embedded GPS (global positioning system) and cockpit multi-function displays.
The 'Visegrad Four' - Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - signed an agreement in February 2003 to jointly upgrade up to 105 Mi-24D/V helicopters to Nato standards. This agreement was later abandoned.
However, two Polish Mi-24s were upgraded to Nato standard as prototypes. In February 2004, BAE Systems was selected as integrator for the avionics systems, which will include an integrated electronic warfare suite.
In December 2005, Bulgaria signed a contract for the upgrade of 12 Mi-24 helicopters to a team led by Lockheed Martin and Elbit. However the contract was subsequently cancelled in February 2007.
WeaponsThe helicopter has six suspension weapon units on the wingtips. The Mi24D (Mi-25) and the Mi-24V (Mi-35) are equipped with a YakB four-barrelled, 12.7mm, built-in, flexibly mounted machine gun, which has a firing rate of 4,000-4,500 rounds a minute and a muzzle velocity of 860m/s. The Mi-24P is fitted with a 30mm, built-in, fixed gun mount; the Mi-24VP with a 23mm, built-in, flexibly mounted gun.
The Mi-24P and Mi-24V have four underwing pylons for up to 12 anti-tank missiles. The Mi-24V (Mi-35) is armed with the Shturm anti-tank guided missile system. Shturm (Nato designation AT-6 Spiral) is a short-range missile with semi-automatic radio command guidance. The 5.4kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead is capable of penetrating up to 650mm of armour. Maximum range is 5km.
The Mi-24V can also carry the longer-range Ataka anti-tank missile system (Nato designation AT-9), as can the Mi-24P. The Ataka missile's guidance is by narrow radar beam, and the maximum range of the missile is 8km. The average target range is between 3km-6km. The target hit probability of the Ataka missile is higher than 0.96 at ranges 3km-6km. The missile has a shaped-charge 7.4kg warhead, with a tandem charge for penetration of 800mm-thick explosive reactive armour.
All Mi-24 helicopters can also be armed with rockets and grenade launchers.
The Mi-24D is equipped with the KPS-53A electro-optical sighting pod. The most recent Mi-24V and P variants have a digital PNK-24 avionics suite and multifunction LCD cockpit displays, and Geofizika ONV1 night-vision goggles, along with NVG-compatible cockpit lighting. They are fitted with the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant GOES-342 TV/FLIR sighting system and a laser rangefinder. Countermeasures include infrared jammer, radar warner and flare dispensers.
EnginesThe helicopter is powered by two Isotov TV3-117VMA turboshaft engines, developing 2,200shp each. The air intakes are fitted with deflectors and separators to prevent dust particle ingestion when taking off from unprepared sites. An auxiliary power unit is fitted.
The internal fuel capacity is 1,500kg, with an additional 1,000kg in an auxiliary tank in the cabin or 1,200kg on four external tanks. The fuel tank has self-sealing covers and porous fuel tank filler for increased survivability, and the exhaust is fitted with infrared suppression systems.