A Russian attack helicopter under production, the Mi-28NM, will have a drone-launching facility, a chief designer at the National Helicopter Engineering Center revealed to TASS.
The rotorcraft will fire mini-drones, including suicide drones, from modular missile launch tubes, the state-owned news agency explained in an earlier report.
“When enemy targets are detected, the helicopter crew issues target designation data and monitors the destruction of targets,” Vitaly Shcherbina, chief designer of the Combat Helicopters program at the Moscow-based center said to TASS.
Control and Launch of Range of Drones
Shcherbina explained that the helicopter will also be able to communicate with other classes of drones such as the Korsar and Outpost-R (both medium-weight drones) “…both through the automated command post of army aviation and directly between the helicopter and the drone.”
The chief designer described the advantages of launching and guiding a range of UAVs from the rotorcraft, saying that the capability will allow the aircraft to monitor a given area without having to encounter an adversary air defense system.
This capacity will allow “high-precision target designation and monitoring the combat use of new generation light multipurpose guided missiles in real-time as well as providing relay telephone and telecode messages between interacting helicopters, aircraft, aviation complexes and ground command posts in a given combat area,” he said.
Apart from its drone launch capacity, the Mi-28NM will have several other upgrades on the Mi-28N, the helicopter gunship currently in service with the Russian military.
Unlike the Mi-28N, “where the operator in the front cockpit is limited in piloting capabilities,” the helicopter’s upgraded version will have a dual control kit, which will allow the aircraft to be controlled “from any cockpit,” TASS wrote.
Additionally, “the helicopter received overhead radar, a new sighting and flight navigation system and an improved radar station.”
The Russian ministry of defense has ordered 98 Mi-28NMs to be supplied between 2020-2027.