Russia’s new Arctic copter: “Terminator” on ice

Flight tests of the Mil Mi-8AMTSH-VA Arctic helicopter.

Flight tests of the Mil Mi-8AMTSH-VA Arctic helicopter.

RIA Novosti/Mark Agnor
Russia is shoring up its positions in the Arctic. For this, new high-quality aircraft technologies and equipment is required to perform combat-duty missions in harsh environments. The Russian Defence Ministry received the first Mi-8AMTSh-VA last week. These have been built to work in tandem with the countries arctic military forces.

1. The unofficial name of the Mi-8AMTSh-VA is “Terminator”.

The new aircraft is based on the military transport helicopter Mi-8AMTSh (export name – Mi-171SH). Unlike the base model, this helicopter is equipped with new Klimov VK-2500-03 gas-turbine engines, a more powerful TA-14 auxiliary power unit, and upgraded avionics. The new Mi-8AMTSh VA set a new milestone:  it became the thousandth helicopter produced by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant.

2. Helicopter specially designed to work in the Arctic

This helicopter can operate at low temperatures, during polar nights, over hard to navigate featureless terrain, with unstable radio communications, over wide distances between operational bases, and long flights over water.

3. Mi-8AMTSh VA – a rescue craft and intelligence gatherer

The helicopter is designed for landing operations, providing support from the air and the evacuation of special operations groups, aerial reconnaissance and targeting, transport and landing, as well as ambulance services for arctic military forces, as well as search and rescue support for security forces, including in the areas of the Northern Sea Route.

4. The Arctic helicopter is painted in a non-standard colour scheme.

In contrast to the use of camouflage colouring on most helicopters used by the Russian Defence Ministry, this Arctic helicopter is covered with special spectacular reflective dark-gray and bright-red paints, which makes the helicopter stand out as much as possible in the endless snow or dull landscape of the tundra.

5. Aircraft technologies were used in the production of the Arctic helicopter.

All longitudinal structural elements of the Mi-8AMTSh VA are not riveted, as is done in most conventional helicopters, but welded. The welds improve the aerodynamics of the helicopter and are easier to repair in the “field conditions” of the Far North.

6. Maximum range of the helicopter, without landing, is more than 1,300 kms (standard model – 1,065 kms).

Such a range is possible because of the two additional fuel tanks on the external sling and two additional internal fuel tanks

7. Mi-8AMTSh-VA can safely navigate and fly even with loss of satellite signals

The digital autopilot with which the helicopter is equipped allows navigation accuracy and efficiency of piloting the helicopter. These have been heightened to operate over hard to navigate featureless terrain and during arctic polar nights. Additionally, this craft is equipped with a redundant satellite system, a digital navigation system with a built-in map generator and a strap - down inertial reference unit, which allows the helicopter’s crew to determine their coordinates, even in the absence of satellite signals.

8. It has equipment that allows it to operate effectively at temperatures below -40 C.

The helicopter is equipped with a TA-14 auxiliary power unit, which operates on the ground and ensures the preflight preparation of avionics, work of the kerosene heater (heating the helicopter’s cabin), heating the transmission gear and power plant systems, operation of the equipment for heating in-flight food packets and the water boiler.

A combination of standard and additional insulation of the cargo compartment, as well as the installation of thermal insulation curtains, reduces heat loss in the cargo compartment.

9. A non-military version of the Mi-8AMTSh will also be produced.

The non-military version of this craft will be developed for offshore operations (passenger and cargo transportation). The Russian Ministry of Emergencies, and oil and gas companies are interested in using the civilian version of this helicopter in the Russian Arctic regions. Several other countries, like Argentina, which conducts research in Antarctica, may be interested in purchasing this helicopter.

10. A stylized image of a polar bear appears next to the helicopter’s cockpit.

The brown bear is a traditional symbol of the Ulan-Ude Plant, and appears on all machinery when it first takes off from the Ulan-Ude Plant’s platform. In the case of the Arctic Mi-8AMTSh, this bear has changed its traditional color, and has become white, to denote its polar functions.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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