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Mil Mi-26 (Halo) Heavy Transport Helicopter (1983)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/2/2013
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The Mil Mi-26 HALO remains the largest helicopter to ever have been produced in any number and is still in active service across the globe.

At the time of its inception, the Cold War-era Mi-26 (codenamed "Halo" by NATO) was - and still remains - the most powerful operational helicopter in the world. Intended to replace the aging Mil Mi-6 series, the Mi-26 accomplished this feat through the use of an all-new eight-bladed main rotor attached to two large Lotarev powerplants. The system has proven a capable performer in both military and civilian roles and has been a part of NATO's humanitarian relief force when donated by contributing nations.

The Mi-26 is powered by twin Lotarev D-136 series turboshafts generating 11,240 shaft horsepower each and are mounted high atop the design above and abaft of the main cockpit. Speeds of up to 180 miles per hour are possible and - considering the aircrafts overall size and weight - is a feat all in itself. The engines power a massive eight-blade main rotor - which features advanced design and construction - and a five-blade tail rotor on the starboard side. The Mi-26 features a cockpit cabin set forwards of the design with a spacious interior cabin suitable for passenger or cargo carrying. Entry is accomplished through retractable side doors and a cargo bay door at rear that splits open from the base of the tail section. The undercarriage is static. A typical operating crew consists of six personnel and include a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, systems operator, navigator and loadmaster.

In addition to the base personnel, the passenger transport version of the Mi-26 can carry a maximum combat troop load of 150 soldiers though 90 is the accepted load. The Mi-26 more than surpasses its previous Mil transport helicopter designs in terms of cargo transportation. From an empty weight of 28,000 kilograms, the Mi-26 can carry loads that increase her maximum take-off weight to over 56,000 kilograms. Her power is such that she can be used to carry heavy construction equipment to areas traditional rugged Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft cannot.

The Mi-26 has evolved from its V-29 prototype to appear in a variety of dedicated and specialized forms. These include various upgraded models, a medical evacuation model, an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) platform, passenger and cargo types and an airborne heavy-lift crane version. There has also been a dedicated firefighting platform developed as well. Beyond the militarized versions of the Mi-26, Russia, China, South Korea, Laos, Peru, India and Greece also operate civilian variants. In any case, the Mi-26 system has found a home in a variety of defined roles after over twenty years of service.

In a publicized event, an Mi-26 Halo with over 125 Russian personnel aboard was downed by a Chechen surface-to-air missile system in August of 2002, killing all passengers and crew. More recently, Chinese Mi-26's have taken part in disaster relief operations in quake-effected regions of China. Some 300 Mi-26 and sub-variants are reported to have been produced. The Mi-26 platform first flew on December 14th, 1977 and began delivery in 1985, seeing operational status by 1986. Design was handled by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant in Moscow, Russia.

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Specifications for the
Mil Mi-26 (Halo)
Heavy Transport Helicopter

Focus Model: Mil Mi-26 (Halo)
Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant - Russia
Initial Year of Service: 1983
Production: 300

Crew: 6 + 90

Length: 131.30 ft (40.02 m)
Width: 0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Height: 26.71ft (8.14 m)
Weight (Empty): 62,170 lb (28,200 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 123,459 lb (56,000 kg)

Powerplant: 2 x Lotarev D-136 turboshaft engines delivering 11,240shp each.

Maximum Speed: 183 mph (295 kmh; 159 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,213 miles (1,952 km)
Service Ceiling: 15,092 ft (4,600 m; 2.9 miles)

Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:

Variants: [ SHOW / HIDE ]

Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia (Soviet Union), Ukraine, Venezuela, North Korea and the United Nations.