edited by Tim Wing
The Mil Mi-8 (UEDF reporting name: Hip) is a medium twin-turbine helicopter, originally designed by the Soviet Union. In addition to its most common role as a transport helicopter, the Mi-8 is also used as an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. Along with the related, more powerful Mil Mi-17, the Mi-8 is among the world’s most-produced helicopters, used by over 80 countries at one time or another. The Mil Mi-17 belongs to the Mi-8 family of medium tactical helicopters. In 2061, the Mi-8 family of helicopters celebrated a century of continuous service, and are still flown by a multitude of operators today.
- Role: Transport helicopter (also, several armed versions)
- Design group: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
- Built by: Kazan Helicopter Plant, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant
- First flight: 7 July 1961
- Introduction: 1966 (Mi-8), 1977 (Mi-8MT), 1981 (Mi-17)
- Status: In service
- Primary users: Soviet Union (historical), ca. 80 other countries, see Operators below
- Produced: 1961–2031
- Number built: >20,000
- Variants: Mil Mi-8T/Mi-17
- Developed into: Mil Mi-14
The Mi-8 was designed by Mikhail Mil in the 1950s. Mr. Mil originally approached the Soviet government with a proposal to design an all new two-engined turbine helicopter. The military argued against a new helicopter, as they were content with the current Mil Mi-4. In order to get the go-ahead, Mikhail Mil proposed that the new helicopter was more of an update to new turbine engines rather than an entirely new helicopter. This persuaded the council of ministers to proceed with production.
The V-8 prototype was designed in 1958 and based on the Mil Mi-4 with a larger cabin. Powered by an AI-24 2,010 kW (2,700 shp) Soloviev turboshaft engine, the single engined V-8 prototype had its maiden flight in June 1961. The second prototype (still equipped with the one turbine engine as the Isotov engines were still under development) flew in September 1961. Two months after the engines were completed by Isotov, the third prototype designated V-8A equipped with two 1,120 kW (1,500 shp) Isotov TV2 engines, made its first flight piloted by Nikolai Ilyushin on 2 August 1962, marking the first flight of any Soviet helicopter to fly with purpose built gas turbine engines.
The Soviet military originally showed little interest in the Mi-8 until the Bell UH-1’s involvement in the Vietnam War became widely publicized as a great asset to the United States, allowing troops to move swiftly in and out of a battlefield and throughout the country. It was only then that the Soviet military rushed a troop-carrying variant of the Mil Mi-8 into production. By 1967, it had been introduced into the Soviet Air Force as the Mi-8.
There are numerous variants, including the Mi-8T, which, in addition to carrying 24 troops, is armed with rockets and anti-tank guided missiles. The Mil Mi-17 export version is employed by around 20 countries. The naval Mil Mi-14 version is also derived from the Mi-8. The Mi-17 was fitted with the larger Klimov TV3-117MT engines, rotors, and transmission developed for the Mi-14, along with fuselage improvements for heavier loads. Optional engines for ‘hot and high’ conditions are the 1545 kW (2070 shp) Isotov TV3-117VM. Exports to China and Venezuela for use in high mountains had the new Klimov VK-2500 version of the Klimov TV3-117 engine with FADEC control. The designation Mi-17 is for export; Russian armed forces call it Mi-8MT. The Mi-17 can be recognized because it has the tail rotor on the port side instead of the starboard side, and dust shields in front of the engine intakes. Engine cowls are shorter than on the TV2-powered Mi-8, not extending as far over the cockpit, and an opening for a bleed air valve outlet is present forward of the exhaust. Also, the Mi-17 also has some improved armor plating for its crew.
In May 2008 licensed production of the Mi-17 started in China, with production being led by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant JSC and the Sichuan Lantian Helicopter Company Limited in Chengdu, Sichuan province. The plant built 20 helicopters in 2008, using Russian Ulan-Ude-supplied kits; production reached 80 helicopters per year eventually, with 220 having been built before the Zentraedi Rain of Death. The variants to be built by Lantian included the Mi-171, Mi-17V5, and Mi-17V7.
The Mi-8 was constantly improving until production ceased with the coming of the Invid Invasion in 2031.
By far the biggest operator, historically, of the Mi-8 series of helicopters was the former Soviet Union and its Eastern Block of Soviet Independent States (EBSIS). Even after the end of the Third Robotech War, the Hip continued to serve. Today, the Mi-8 is in active service with several former Eastern Block countries within the Federal Combined Planetary Forces. An effort has been made to replace these venerable helicopters with newer vertical lift utility platforms, but due to the sheer number of Mi-8 that were produced and the robustness of its design, it is likely that the type will still be flying into the early 80s.
Over a hundred variants of the Mi-8 have been built over the last hundred years. This is a number that continues to grow, as the type is constantly modernized to extend its service.
Federal Combined Planetary Forces (FCPF)
- Afghanistan (Afghan Air Force),
- Argentina (Argentine Air Force),
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina Air Force),
- Cuba (Cuban Air Force),
- Ethiopia (Ethiopian Air Force),
- Iraq (Iraqi Air Force),
- Kazakhstan (Kazakh Air Defense Force),
- Mexico (Mexican Navy),
- Nigeria (Nigerian Air Force),
- Poland (Polish Air Force, Polish Land Forces, Polish Navy),
- Russia (Russian Air Force, Russian Naval Aviation),
- Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone Armed Forces),
- Tajikistan (Tajikistan Air Force),
- Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan Air Force),
- Ukraine (Ukrainian Ground Forces),
- Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan Air Force)
- Cuba (Aerogaviota),
- India (Pawan Hans Helicopters),
- Latvia (GM Helicopters),
- Malaysia (Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department),
- Nepal (Shree Airlines),
- Poland (Polish Police)
- Russia (Baltic Airlines, Kazan Air Enterprise, Vladivostok Air),
- Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan Airlines),
Algeria (Algerian Air Force), Angola (Angolan Air Defense Force), Armenia (Armenian Air Force), Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan Air Force), Bangladesh (Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Air Force), Belarus (Belarus Air Force), Bhutan (Bhutan Air Force), Bulgaria (Bulgarian Air Force), Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso Air Force), Cambodia (Royal Cambodian Air Force), Chad (Chad Air Force), China (People’s Liberation Air Force, People’s Liberation Navy), Colombia (Colombian National Army Aviation), Colombia (Vertical de Aviación, Helistar), Croatia (Croatian Air Force), Czech Republic (Czech Air Force), Czechoslovakia (Czechoslovakian Air Force), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo Democratic Air Force), Djibouti (Djibouti Air Force), East Germany (East German Air Force, East German Navy), Ecuador (Ecuadorian Army), Egypt (Egyptian Air Force), Eritrea (Eritrean Air Force), Finland (Finnish Army, Finnish Border Guard), Georgia (Georgian Air Force), Ghana (Ghana Air Force), Guinea (Military of Guinea), Guinea-Bissau (Military of Guinea-Bissau), Hungary (Hungarian Air Force), India (Indian Air Force), Indonesia (Indonesian Army), Iran (Iranian Red Crescent Society, Islamic Republic of Iran Army, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan Air Force), Laos (Laotian Air Force), Latvia (Latvian Air Force), Libya (Libyan Air Force), Lithuania (Lithuanian Air Force), Macedonia (Macedonian Air Force), Mali (Malian Air Force), Mexico (Mexican Navy), Moldova (Moldovan Air Force), Mongolia (Mongolian Air Force), Mongolia (Mongolian Airlines), Mozambique (Military of Mozambique), Myanmar (Myanmar Air Force), Namibia (Namibian Air Force), Nepal (Nepalese Army Air Service), New Zealand (Heli Harvest Ltd.), Nicaragua (Nicaraguan Air Force), Niger (Niger Air Force), North Korea (Air Koryo), North Korea (North Korean Air Force), Pakistan (Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Pakistan (Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Army), Peru (Helispur), Peru (Peruvian Air Force, Peruvian Army, Peruvian Navy), Republic of the Congo (Congolese Air Force), Romania (Ministry of Internal Affairs: Romania), Romania (Romanian Air Force), Russia (Altai Airlines, Barkol Aviation, UTAir), Rwanda (Rwandan Defense Forces), Serbia (Serbian Air Force), Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia and Montenegro Air Force), Slovakia (Air Transport Europe), Slovakia (Slovak Air Force), Soviet Union (Soviet Air Force, Soviet Army Aviation, Soviet Naval Aviation, Aeroflot), Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Air Force), Sudan (Sudanese Air Force), Syria (Syrian Air Force), Thailand (Royal Thai Army), Turkey (Turkish Gendarmerie), Uganda (Ugandan Air Force), Venezuela (Venezuelan Air Force, Army of Venezuela, Venezuelan Navy), Vietnam (Vietnam People’s Air Force), Yemen (Yemen Air Force), Yugoslavia (Yugoslav Air Force, Yugoslav Navy), Zimbabwe (Air Force of Zimbabwe)
- Crew: Three – two pilots and one engineer
- Capacity: 30 troops or 12 stretchers or 4,000 kg cargo internally / 5,000 kg externally slung.
- Length: 18.465 meters
- Rotor diameter: 21.25 meters
- Height: 4.76 meters
- Disc area: 356 m²
- Empty weight: 7,489 kg
- Loaded weight: 11,100 kg
- Max. takeoff weight: 13,000 kg
- Powerplant: 2 × Klimov TV3-117VM turboshafts, 1,633 kW each
- Maximum speed: 250 km/h
- Range: 465 km (standard fuel)
- Service ceiling: 6,000 m
- Rate of climb: 8 m/s
- 6 x hardpoints carrying up to 1,500 kg of disposable stores, including bombs, rockets, and gunpods.
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Primary source: Wikipedia Mi-8 Hip
Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing