Russia Commits to Multi-Year Buy of 67 Mi-28 Attack Helicopters
If the latest Russian order for 67 helicopters holds up, it could be the lifeline that Rostvertol’s Mi-28N attack helicopter has waited a decade for.
The Mi-28A “Havoc” first appeared at the Paris Air Show in 1989, but was never produced in numbers due competition from the Ka-50 “Black Shark,” and Russia’s financial situation in the aftermath of communism. An improved Mi-28N (see also Rostvertol profile) with full day/night capabilities was introduced as a prototype in 1996. Characteristically, the 2nd, improved prototype Mi-28N would wait until 2004 for its flight, and only began flight testing with the Russian Air Force in June 2005.
Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergey Ivanov pledged that 7 new Mi-28N “Night Hunter” helicopters would be purchased in 2006, and that “due to helicopters high efficiency in fighting against terrorists… the MoD within 9 years shall buy from the Rostov enterprise 67 Night Hunters.” Publicly estimated costs for the Mi-28N vary considerably, from $10-20 million per machine.
Ivanov also repeated a 2003 pledge that the Mi-28N helicopter would be the basic attack helicopter for Russia’s armed forces. That repetition means that conflicting pledges now exist from various officials and generals regarding the Ka-50 “Black Shark’s” future role. Rostvertol release, via Defense-Aerospace.