Russian Helicopters' Composite Rotors Boost Helos’ Performance
Russian Helicopters has developed fully composite rotor blades that the company says will increase the performance of its Mil Mi-28 and Mi-35 attack helicopters.
Flight testing of the blades is underway on one of the company’s Mi-28 testbeds, Russian Helicopters announced at the annual Army2020 International Military Technical Forum held near Moscow.
The concept for the blades was initially tested on the Mi-24LL PSV high-speed rotorcraft testbed, which flew in 2016 and achieved speeds of more than 400 km/hr.
Russian Helicopters says the new blades feature modern aerodynamic and aeroelastic characteristics and composition and are manufactured using one-stage compression molding.
Images of the blades released by the company show a conventional blade fitted with a large paddle at the tip. It is not dissimilar to the UK’s British Experimental Rotor Project blade developed for the Leonardo EH/AW101, but with a curved sweep from the leading to the trailing edge. Russian Helicopters claims the blades can increase the speed of both the Mi-28 and Mi-35 by 15-20%.
The company has not said when the blades will be ready for use on production aircraft, or if they will be adopted by the domestic or foreign customers for each type.
Meanwhile, Russian Helicopters has begun serial production of a new version of the venerable Mi-24/35 attack helicopters.
The Mi-35P introduces a new upgraded targeting sight system and thermal imaging systems, as well as a digital flight control system that boosts aircraft controllability and stability and helps reduce pilot workload. Andrey Boginsky, director general of Russian Helicopters, said the serial production was underway in support of a foreign customer. He did not disclose the country.
Russian Helicopters said the upgraded Mi-35P can use both the 9M120 Ataka and the 9K121 Vikhr air-launched, anti-tank missiles.