Armed utility helicopters are game-changer as they provide air support to the unit they carry in air assault or special force operations.
Russia, which has utility helicopters equipped with heavy weapons in its inventory for many years, announced that the tests of the new platform have been started. Mi-8 AMTSh-VN, which performs its first flight at the Mil and Kamov National Helicopter Center, where the facilities of Mil and Kamov Companies are located, will offer stronger air support to its personnel in air raids than its predecessor. In the test and trial process, besides the aerodynamic characteristics of the platform, parameters such as manoeuvrability, stabilisation, control systems and firing accuracy will be tested. The first phase of the process is planned to be completed in November 2020.
Mi-8 AMTSh-VN, the first prototype of which was manufactured in Ulan-Ude Aircraft Plants, is more advanced than its predecessor Mi-8 AMTSh, such as more advanced modern avionics, fire control system, more powerful engines, X-shaped and composite blade new rotor system. The helicopter, which provides armour protection with a layer made of kevlar and titanium to critical compartments and personnel, can operate in any environment day and night thanks to the stabilized electro-optic system, dual-band lighting equipment and night vision goggle suitable cockpit panels. There are different weapon systems in the helicopter, where it is stated that many operations are automatised in order to reduce the workload of pilots. Mi-8AMTSh-VN, which is stated to have 12.7 mm machine guns for self-defence, can be equipped with different weapons such as anti-tank missiles, air to surface rockets, machine gun pods and free-fall bombs. Thanks to its fire control system, the helicopter promises higher accuracy even under harsh environmental conditions.
Following the completion of the first part in the trial phase, two additional prototypes will be added in the process.