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Mi-28NM gunships to fire R-74M air-to-air missiles

The latest Russian Mi-28NM helicopter gunships will be able to fight airplanes, drones and helicopters. The rotorcraft will be armed with short-range R-74M air-to-air guided missiles. The helicopter will remain invulnerable at low altitude, the Izvestia daily writes.

Mi 28NM gunships to fire R 74M air to air missiles Modern missiles on Mi-28NM will effectively fight jets, helicopters and drones. R-74M also known as RVV-MD is a short-range missile. It can hit targets at a distance of 40 km.(Picture source: Army Recognition)

Sources in the Defense Ministry said a decision in principle had been made to arm Mi-28NM with R-74M air-to-air missiles. They will radically increase the capabilities of the helicopter. Sources in the defense industry said the work had begun, but some technical problems have to be resolved.

Modern missiles will effectively fight jets, helicopters and drones. R-74M also known as RVV-MD is a short-range missile. It can hit targets at a distance of 40 km.

R-74M was initially designed to fight fifth-generation F-35 and F-22 fighter jets which can hardly escape it by intensive maneuvering or a boost. The homing warhead operates in conditions of electronic warfare and dummy heat traps.

The powerful missile will make Mi-28NM fight helicopters, expert Vladislav Shurygin said. "Today helicopter gunships are armed with portable antiaircraft weapons. They are Stinger in the West and Igla and Verba in Russia. However, manpads are much weaker than an air missile. R-74M has a bigger range, sensitivity and resistance to jamming. It carries more explosive and leaves no chance to any air target," he said.

A helicopter is a complicated target for a modern fighter jet. It operates at low altitudes and in terrain folds and is poorly visible for an aircraft radar. Buildings provide numerous dummy reflections. The earth surface camouflages the heat trace and complicates lock-on of the infrared homing warhead.

The missile will make adversary pilots feel unsafe, merited test pilot and Hero of Russia Colonel Igor Malikov said. "A helicopter armed with a pair of R-74M can operate from an ambush by outside guidance. The latest missile does not need a visual contact with the target and can fire from around the corner. The homing warhead can lock on a target after the launch. It makes even the latest fighter jets vulnerable to helicopters," he said.

Mi-28NM crew are equipped with helmets with inbuilt guidance provision and indication with augmented reality. Laser beams show all the necessary information on the protective plastic cap: map, reconnaissance data, and state of the helicopter. Air target position provided by the air defense command post or AEW aircraft is also displayed.

Helicopters can independently detect the adversary by upgraded optical electronic system. Its effective range has been doubled, the Izvestia said.

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