Mil Mi-28 (Havoc) Attack Helicopter
The Mil Mi-28 Havoc has since become the standard attack helicopter for the Russian Air Force and Army - fielded alongside the rival Kamov Ka-50 / Ka-52 series.
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The Mil Mi-28 (NATO reporting name of "Havoc") was a product of the Cold War designed as an anti-tank attack platform similar in scope and function to the American Hughes AH-64 Apache series. As in the Apache, the Mi-28 featured an armored tandem-seat, stepped cockpit for a pilot and weapons officer, a chin-mounted turreted cannon and wingstubs along the fuselage sides for various munitions options - rockets and anti-tank missiles.
The Mi-28 system was on the drawing boards by early 1980 and flew in head-to-head competition trials with the Kamov-inspired single-seat, twin-rotor Ka-50 design. Though the eventual loser in the trials, the Mi-28 was still accepted for continued development and entered serial production in 1987 as the "Mi-28A" - being formally debuted to the public in the Paris Air Show of 1989. Though production for the initial mark did not last long (primarily due to its daytime-only operational status), the system was evolved in the Mi-28N day-night attack system (identified by the addition of a radome over the main rotor mast). Development of this new breed was slow as priority was still handed to the Ka-50 series and defense budgets were terribly slashed after the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991. However, due to the fall of the Soviet Union, the much-limited Ka-50 series began giving ground to the multi-role qualities of the Mi-28 which eventually superseded the Ka-50 as the standard Russian attack helicopter in the post-Cold War world. The proved more adaptable to the ever-changing conditions of the modern battlefield of the time, were more conventional in their two-crew arrangement and were less expensive to produce in the numbers required. After the protracted development of the new day-night Mi-28N ("Night Hunter"), an official introduction to the inventory of the Russian Air Force service occurred on October 15th, 2009. The Mi-28 and Ka-50 have since been fielded side-by-side, interestingly both now representing the Russian standard attack helicopter. The Russian Army received their first Mi-28Ns in 2006 as a replacement for their aging Mi-24 Hinds in the dedicated attack role.