Mil Mi-8

In 1960 the Mil Design Bureau commenced to work on a project of a new multi-purpose helicopter, planned as the successor of the Mi-4.

The new design was to sport turboshaft powerplant, stronger and lighter than piston engines used hitherto in the Mi-1 and the Mi-4 helicopters. The prototype, rigged with only one AI-24-type engine, first flew in June 1961. The new design featured many construction elements of the Mi-4 airframe, including a single-engine propulsion and a four-bladed main rotor. While the basic construction layout proved satisfactory, a single-engine configuration made the first Mi-8 underpowered and didn’t offer the required safety standard. Hence, a new Klimov TV2-117 powerplant was coupled to V-8A prototype, which first flew in September 1962.

ts23   001


In October 1963 a new five-bladed rotor was positively tested. This configuration was deemed optimal and thus the design entered mass production. In 1965 the No. 387 plant in Kazan manufactured the first serial Mi-8. Five years later the Mi-8 production was also started in No. 99 plant at Ulan-Ude. The transport version was initially coded by NATO as ‘Hip-C’.

ts23   002


Beginning with 1967, Mi-8 was being adapted for the demands of the modern battlefield. Eventually, in 1968, the Mi-8TV assault version took to the air. It was equipped with twin racks for external stores on each side, able to carry 64 x 57mm S-5 rockets in four UB-16-57 packs. The pilot’s cockpit was rigged with a simple PKI or PKV collimator gunsight. So armed variant was identified in the NATO code as ‘Hip-E’.

ts23   003

Polish combat units received their first Mi-8s in 1968. During the following years of long service, both Polish civilian and military aviation used several sub-types of the Mi-8: Mi-8T (transport), Mi-8 Salon, Mi-8P (passenger) and Mi-8TV (assault/transport). Popular and numerous, Mi-8 came to epitomize the helicopter transport. It participated in many rescue missions countering natural disasters. During each pilgrimage of the Pope John Paul II to Poland Mi-8S VIP-configured helicopters served as airborne means of transport.

ts23   004


When Poland joined NATO, it created its own Air Cavalry units, which made good use of the Mi-8 as a fast and highly mobile means of transport for infantry squads and light artillery equipment. Overhauls and occasional upgrades, which allow the Polish Mi-8s to remain competitive and effective on a modern battlefield, are carried out by the Lodz Military Maintenance Works No. 1. There, Mi-8 underwent upgrades to enter service with a combat SAR (Search and Rescue) unit as Mi-8RL, specialized in rescuing MIA airmen (creation of such a unit was one of the Polish obligations associated with joining NATO).

ts23   005


The Mi-8 became a first-rate export ‘hit’ of the Russian aviation industry. It proved its worth in over 100 recipient countries all over the world and in every climate. Its present operators still want to overhaul and upgrade their Mi-8 fleets to make them meet the demands of the modern combat, as well as civilian air transport.

ts23   006

[…]

Read more…

TS23  okladka

  • Recommended - Aircraft

Mitsubishi  A5M Claude
Mitsubishi A5M Claude The mid-1930s saw the ever increasing numbers of fast monoplane...
Grumman  F-14 Tomcat in US Navy Service
Grumman F-14 Tomcat in US Navy Service For many years, the author of this book wished to publish a work...
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zero Vol. II
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zero Vol. II Kiedy na początku 1941 r. stało się jasne, że starcie zbrojne...
Fiat G.55 Centauro
Fiat G.55 Centauro The participation of Italy in World War II was quite controversial,...
Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado In the 1960s, many European countries were already working on...
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zeke Vol. I
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zeke Vol. I The Zero was exciting, like nothing I’d seen before. Even sitting...
Lublin R-XIII
Lublin R-XIII In 1897, Emil Plage founded the Factory for Building Machines...