Military, transport helicopters of 21st century
By Col. Jamal Ahmed – I watched recently a video review of some of the best helicopters and I was amazed about how the technology is advancing. Based on that review I tried to do some extra research and write a brief article about the technology comparing a couple of helicopter models.
Inspired by Leonardo Da Vince’s 15th century design, the world’s first practical helicopter was the VS-300 used during the Second World War in September 1939. Since then the technology of military helicopters has gone through different stages of development to reach the era of supper-copter today.
From latest one EH101 (US101) of the United States, to the Russian made Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh, we are now seeing the best helicopters.
Today in this article I will look at what makes the Russian made Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh the best choppers in the world. These two most powerful military-transport helicopters are developed based on the internationally acclaimed technology Mi-8 type.
Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh are designed to transport personnel, cargo, and military equipment. These powerful helicopters are perfect to provide airdrop mission, causality and medical evacuation, distress rescue missions at sea and on land as well as for destruction of the enemy’s ground defenses.
The specific applications of these helicopters can be:
– airdrop missions of the tactical airborne assault;
– soft (site) target engagement with the use of the unguided weapons;
– Transportation of the oversize load on the external lift, etc.
Some of the key features of Russian Mi-17 include:
– An additional row of the easily detachable seats for the paratroopers, which allows a total numbers of troopers to reach 36;
– Auxiliary power system that provides the main engines ignition at the 4,000 meters altitude.
– Higher-power VK-2500 engines that provide assistance in missions in the high mountains and hot climate conditions;
– Hull design allows transporting 4,000 kg cargo on the external lift
– An extended entrance door on the port side;
– An additional standard door on the starboard, which reduces boarding-alighting time of the troopers;
When it comes to the specifications, operation experience of new Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh proved the level of technical operability about 95%. The reliability rate (mean time before failure) is above 80 hours, while technical assignment only requires 8 hours. When it comes to the price, the latest versions of Russian Mi-8/17 series are almost three times cheaper than the U.S. or its partners made UH-60M and H225M.
Let’s now look what makes unique Russian Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh compared to UH-60M and H225M.
– Helicopters UH-60M and H225M have lesser capacities (29 and 20 people respectively), while Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh can carry up to 36 people.
– As distinct from UH-60M and H225M, the Russian Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh can transport military vehicles and weapons inside the cargo hold.
– Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh are also easy for maintenance with high reliability in combat conditions and without using special on-land service tools.
– When it comes to the efficiency of fire tasks, the Russian helicopters outperform UH-60M 1.4 times and H225M 2.5 times. This is due to a larger ammo and ammunition power of unguided rockets and cannons as well as due to the higher protection against firearms and cannon-based AA systems.
– Compared to Russian helicopters UH-60M Black Hawk and H225M have some serious limitations while in operations in hot tropics conditions as observed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other regions.
– For transportation of injured Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh helicopters are fitted with all the necessary sanitary equipment. As for the number of capacity for injured troops transportation (12 people in litters), The Russian helicopters outperform UH-60M 2 times and are not outplayed by H225M.
Comparing Russian Mi-17V-5 and Mi-171Sh with UH-60M and H225M
Currently the maintenance cost for Russian made helicopters is cheaper, as compared to European or other U.S. made helicopters. Meanwhile it is not advisable for Russian made helicopters to use non-Russian made spare parts. Russian helicopters will be much more successful and safe when one uses genuine spare parts made by the manufacturer of the helicopters. Report shows that the use of cheaper spare parts will jeopardize the lives of the crew and the people these helicopters transport.