Sizing up the powerful Russian Mi-26 helicopter

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MOSCOW – Previously, the Moscow Mil Helicopter Factory introduced the Mi-26T2V military transport helicopter – the latest modification of the world’s largest helicopter.

Today, the Russian Mi-26 helicopter is considered the largest helicopter in terms of size and carrying capacity. The helicopter has a length of 40 meters and can take off with up to 56 tons of total weight.

In addition, the Mi-26 has two gas turbine engines with 11,000 hp of power and a propeller of 32 meters in diameter with eight blades made of metallic composite. The helicopter’s tail propeller has five fiberglass reinforced plastic blades. For energy self-sufficiency, when parked the Mi-26 can use its own generator.

The cruise speed of the Mi-26 is 240-270 kilometers per hour and it can travel distances of about 720 kilometers at maximum weight.

As for the maximum flight altitude, the “practical ceiling” of the helicopter, the nominal altitude that the helicopter can reach by moving in both planes, vertical and horizontal, is 4,600 meters; “the static ceiling” of the helicopter, the maximum altitude at which the airplane can remain suspended with the main propeller, without horizontal speed, is 1,800 meters. “The dynamic roof”, that is, the altitude that can reach the helicopter for a short time, but remaining maneuverable, is 6,500 meters.

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Currently, the Russian state-owned company Vertolety Rossii (Russia’s Helicopters) is testing the latest version of the Mi-26 family – the Mi-26T2V military transport helicopter, commissioned by the Russian Ministry of Defense and presented for the first time in the Forum Army 2018 at Kubinka Air Base.

Although apparently the Mi-26T2V is not so different from its previous versions, inside the device had significant changes. According to the general builder of the heavy helicopters of the Moscow Helicopter Factory, Sergei Popov, this modification of the helicopter has the most advanced digital technologies.

“[Digital technologies] allow to improve and facilitate the work of the crew, automate the process of piloting, landing and stopping regimes in the air, and extend the capabilities of using the device in different weather conditions, day or night,” he explained.

“For example, the autopilot switched on allows the device to travel the trajectory without the intervention of pilots, who must only control the operating parameters of the mechanisms and systems.”

Popov underlined that all these innovations allow Russia to continue to maintain its lead in the construction of super-heavy helicopters.

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