Translated by Soviet Bear for Fort Russ
1st July, 2016
Wonderful examples of Soviet and Russian military equipment, surpassing foreign counterparts, arouse desire among domestic makers to improve their products.
One of the most successful developments of the combat helicopter was the transport – combat (TB) Mi-24. The aircraft was great. Both domestic and foreign pilots confirmed this. Plus, an extensive experience of the helicopter in various military conflicts. In addition to weapons, it could carry even a group of soldiers in full gear aboard. Remarkable features for a combat helicopter. However, this increased weight had an impact on manoeuvrability.
The Mil design bureau already was working on the development of advanced military aircraft. But since this process, naturally, is not quite easy and fast, it was decided to create a similar helicopter based on the proven Mi-24.
The project was given the Mi-37 designation and was designed to compete with the best in this class of helicopters of foreign production. According to the creators, this brand of new machine inherited only external similarity and the rotor scheme from the Mi-24. The fuselage is made of composite materials. Due to the partial rejection, the cargo cabin of the Mi-37 is much smaller. In part, the vacant volume of the fuselage contains extra fuel tanks and equipment. A small horizontal tail, on which the armaments are suspended, have been shifted slightly forward. To improve the manoeuvring characteristics of the helicopter, heavier units are located closer to the center of mass.
The first prototypes of the helicopter received the main and tail rotors of the Mi-24. Later they were replaced with the same that were used on the Mi -28 helicopter. They have a peculiar shape that increases lifting force. The use of horizontal hinges on rotors has improved the efficiency and helped to get rid of the noise. For an attack helicopter, that is a significant quality. The interchangeability of some components and design elements of the two helicopters allows you to reduce the cost of production of parts and facilitates maintenance and repair of the helicopters. Which is another positive point for the Ministry of Defense and the military budget as a whole.
The location of the crew remained traditional. As on the original Mi-24 there are separate cockpits for the pilot and the Navigator–operator. Energy-absorbing seats are capable of protecting the crew when flying at low altitudes. In case of an emergency, the tension straps pull the crew member tightly to the back of the seat, creating a readiness pose. Behind the cockpit there is a small cargo compartment. If necessary, it can accommodate two people or the necessary amount of cargo. In addition, the helicopter is equipped with search equipment, which works in review mode and is able to recognize different objects, to take them to the capture, conduct an automatic escort. All information is displayed on the monitor screen, which makes it possible to determine the distance to the target in all weather conditions regardless of the time of the day. The presence of such equipment allows it to be used even at the stage of take-off and landing.
In general, the Mi-37 has received multifunctional equipment, which makes it a combat helicopter, a scout, and a gunner. But that's not all the makers have equipped the helicopter with. To detect land and sea targets and to precisely determine their coordinates the rotary-wing aircraft has the “Arbalet” radar. With this "eye" the helicopter is able to detect aerial targets and to direct "air-to-air" missiles at them. And while flying really low the radar allows to detect dangerous obstacles and to go around them.
The Mi-37 is equipped with "President-s" countermeasure complex. This is essentially an electronic-jamming unit. In addition, on the wing's hard points there are containers that dispense flares that simulate false targets. So that a missile with a thermal homing head, will accept the decoy as the real target and fly in the other direction.
Tests have demonstrated high efficiency of the equipment under the fire of modern MANPADS. None of the released missile has reached its target.
In addition to defensive equipment, there are pods of unguided rockets, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), containers with grenade launchers, guns and bombs weighing up to 500 kg.
According to history, when the Mi-37 was being developed, the designers thought what name to give to it. Having a high sense of humor engineers suggested to name the aircraft "Tungus". To the question: "Why so and not otherwise?" The author of the name said it is a response to the American "Apache," "Iroquois", and "Comanche."
Anyway, the helicopter turned out to be very good. It combines the experience accumulated in combat operations and the latest achievements in the helicopter industry.
In general, the "restyling" of the helicopter proved to be successful. But it has a serious competitor. That is another creation of the Mil bureau – “Mi-28N”. But as the military believe that Mi-37 is a transitional model, where pilots have to train in the process of retraining from the Mi-24 to the Mi-28N, preference was given to the second. So, in one design bureau two great fighting machines that compete with each other have been created.
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