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Mi-28NE: exports on the rise

_The export of the Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopter began just a little over a year ago, in late August 2014. The Iraqi media reported at the time that the first batch of the helicopters of the type had been shipped. The deliveries are in line with a major package of contracts made by Rosoboronexport and Iraq in 2012, under which the first batch of Mil Mi-35M attack helicopters had arrived in country in autumn 2013. According to the annual report by Rostvetol, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters, the manufacturer continues to execute the Rosoboronexport-snagged orders for 28 Mi-35M and 15 Mi-28NE attack helicopters.

Rostvertol built its first export Mi-28NEs last summer. The delivery took place on 28 August 2014, and a day later, the Iraqi Defence Ministry released an official statement about its receiving the first consignment of Mi-28NEs. "The helicopters will enter service to contribute to our armed services' fight against terrorists," the Iraqi Defence Ministry web site stated.

According to the Iraqi Defence Ministry's spokesman, Lt.-Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, the delivery of the Mi-28NEs was "a quantum leap for the Iraqi Army Aviation". "We have received the first batch of up-to-date Mi-28NE armored combat helicopters. The Iraqi military's operations against the terrorists have recently shown that our armed services badly need such helicopters featuring high manoeuvrability and firepower - up-to-date and highly effective. I believe the arrival of the helicopters like these under the current conditions is a quantum leap for our Army Aviation, affording it new abilities to fight the terrorists under difficult conditions," Lt.-Gen. Mohammed al-Askari said.

The second batch of two Mi-28NEs was delivered to Iraq in February 2015, and in September 2015, the trials of the first Mi-28NE, designed for a different customer from the Middle East/Africa region, kicked off in Rostov-on-Don. Under the December 2013 order landed by Rosoboronexport, the customer will receive 42 modified Mi-28NE helicopters equipped with the controls at both the pilot's and weapons systems operator's stations, modified cockpit and a mast-mounted radar.

The Mi-28NE attack helicopter is an export variant of the baseline Mi-28N that came in the Russian Armed Forces' inventory in October 2009. Combat units have operated the type since 2008. Rostvertol has built about a hundred production-standard Mi-28Ns and Mi-28NEs to date.

Published in Take-off magazine, November 2015.

(Photo: Yevgeny Yerokhin)

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