Russia’s New Attack Helicopter Mule Hunts Speed, Not Tanks

Prototype chopper developments could increase speeds across Russia’s helicopter fleet.

Adam Lowe/TheDrive.com

Speed. That’s always the objective, but the approaches and methodologies are numerous. When it’s coming from Detroit, they increase displacement. At Lotus, they simplify and add lightness. And, in Russia, they play with the tip. Meet the Demonstrator PSV, a new experimental attack helicopter that uses a curved rotor blade end design. It’s pretty raw and a little weird looking. It’s also fast as hell.

The prototype, which made its maiden flight outside Moscow last month, is based on the Mi-24K Hind. The Hind platform is no stranger to record setting, In the Seventies a modified Mi-24B punched out several time-to-climb and speed records, some of which stand today.

The Demonstrator PSV is powered by dual Klimov VK-2500 engines, a powerplant also used in the Ka-50 Black Shark and Mi-28 Havoc. Total output? Roundabout 4,800 horsepower. But whereas the Mi-24K Hind has a twin-pilot configuration, this new Demonstrator PSV is a one-man show. It’s got a new modular, open-architecture avionics system, too. The goal here is a cruising speed of 194 knots (223 mph) and a top speed of 216 knots (249 mph), about 30 percent faster than a standard Mi-24K.

That’s thanks in large part to the aforementioned blade tips. The design is a big deal for Russia, which doesn’t have the economic stability (see: global sanctions, oil prices, Syrian conflict) to chase a full-on high-speed helicopter project. But these new curved rotors could be retrofitted to the Mi-24/35 and Mi-28 helos, bumping up the latter’s cruising speed by as much as 10 percent.

Adam Lowe/TheDrive.com