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Mil V-12 (Homer)

Heavy-Lift Transport Helicopter Prototype

Mil V-12 (Homer)

Heavy-Lift Transport Helicopter Prototype


Only two prototypes emerged from the Soviet-era V-12 twin-rotor heavy-lift helicopter program sponsored by the Mil Design Bureau.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1968
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant - Soviet Union
OPERATORS: Soviet Union

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Mil V-12 (Homer) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 121.39 feet (37 meters)
WIDTH: 219.82 feet (67 meters)
HEIGHT: 41.01 feet (12.5 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 152,339 pounds (69,100 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 231,485 pounds (105,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Soloviev D-25VF turboshaft engines developing 6,500 shaft horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 162 miles-per-hour (260 kilometers-per-hour; 140 knots)
RANGE: 621 miles (1,000 kilometers; 540 nautical miles)
CEILING: 11,483 feet (3,500 meters; 2.17 miles)


Series Model Variants
• V-12 - Prototype Designation; two examples completed.
• Mi-12 - Proposed production model designation
• V-16 - Proposed "super-heavy" variant; fitted with 6 x Soloviev D-25VF engines.
• Mi-16 - Expected production model designation of V-16 prototype.
• Mi-12M - Modified/improved V-16; fitted with 2 x Soloviev D-30V turboshaft engines driving 6-bladed main rotors.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Mil V-12 (Homer) Heavy-Lift Transport Helicopter Prototype.  Entry last updated on 10/28/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Mil V-12 was a massive heavy-lift helicopter project taken on by the Soviet Union during the Cold War - even today (2015), it remains the largest helicopter ever built. Known in the Soviet Union under project "Izdeliye 65" and to NATO under the codename of "Homer", V-12 saw its first flight - an unsuccessful "hop" - in June of 1967 (its first successful test flight came a year later). Despite the promising nature of this large beast, particularly in the scope of Soviet military transportation service, the V-12 was not to be - cancelled after just a pair of prototypes had been completed.

Work on the V-12 began as early as 1959 when thought was given to a large transport helicopter to move upwards of 55,000 lb of cargo - men, machines, supplies, and particularly Soviet ICBMs ("InterContinental Ballistic Missiles"). The charge fell to the famous Soviet helicopter concern, Mil Design Bureau, whose engineers elected for a "transverse" rotor system arrangement - the main rotors fitted outboard of wing assemblies as opposed to an inline format (as in the Boeing CH-47 Chinook). The dual main rotors were also used to cancel the naturally occurring torque effect seen in single-rotor helicopters which negated the use of a tail rotor. Mockups and small-scale testing ensued into the mid-1960s to prove certain design aspects viable. Two paired Soloviev D-25VF turboshaft engines (four engines in all) were selected to power the helicopter and these engines each drove five-bladed main rotors while also providing the needed forward thrust for horizontal flight.

The finalized fuselage was streamlined in its general shape with a twin-deck approach, the primary flight deck being fitted at the nose of the aircraft for two pilots and two engineers while a secondary deck was sat over the nose housing a navigator and radioman. The fuselage took on a tubular shape from nose to tail with the tail being raised to allow for easier access to the cargo hold by way of clamshell doors. The empennage consisted of a sole vertical tail fin with low-set horizontal planes. To each of these horizontal planes were added vertical tail fins - though much smaller in overall dimension than the primary tail fin. The wing mainplanes were fitted over the fuselage spine near amidships and held dihedral (upward angle) from centerline. At their ends were the engine pairings (under) and main rotor assemblies (over). The undercarriage was fixed in place though wheeled, the main legs (double-wheeled) situated under the wings via a network of struts and the nose leg under the forward fuselage with a double-wheeled arrangement. The helicopter carried the AP-44 autopilot system and ROZ-1 navigational radar.

Internally, the cargo hold was to match that of the large Antonov An-22 ("Antei") strategic airlifter to an extent. It could seat 196 passengers if equipped as such or carry up to 88,000 lb of goods under maximum loads including military-grade wheeled vehicles or a mixed cargo set. Dimensions of the aircraft included a length of 37 meters, a wingspan of 67 meters, and a height of 12.5 meters. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) reached 231,485 lb.

The four Soloviev D-25VF turboshafts produced 6,500 shaft horsepower each while driving the twin 35-meter-diameter main rotor blades. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 162 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 150 miles per hour, a ferry range out to 620 miles, and a combat range of 310 miles. Its service ceiling peaked at 11,500 feet.

Initial testing began in 1967 and ended in a hop of the machine due to oscillation issues which caused a hard landing- though damaged, the aircraft was not a total loss. Construction was completed for 1968 which allowed for more deeper testing to continue and ultimately led to an official first flight on July 10th, 1968. Its first payload test came the following year when a prototype hauled over 68,000 lb of goods airborne. The first prototype wowed audiences attending the 1971 Paris Air Show (le Bourget). The second prototype was not realized until March of 1973 after delays in acquiring its engines.

The V-12 continued to impress throughout its developmental life. However, the Soviet mission began to change and the system fell victim to no longer having a defined role to explain its development, procurement, and operating costs. As such, the V-12 program was cancelled after the two prototypes and no further work on the pair was done after 1974. For a time, the V-12 was also considered for industry and civilian transport service but this fell to naught as well. The Soviet military eventually adopted the Mil Mi-26 ("Halo") series in 1983 to fulfill its revised heavy-lift role.

V-12 served as the prototype designation which numbered just the two aforementioned aircraft. In serial production, the aircraft would have been given the designation of Mi-12. V-16 was a proposed super-heavy-lift variant of the V-12 and set to become the Mi-16 in production. This model was intended to haul up to 110,000 lb of goods utilizing six Soloviev engines with a three rotor configuration (later revised to twin-rotor design). A proposed revised version of the V-16 also emerged though with a slightly different engine set (Soloviev D-30Vs) as the Mi-12M but this mark joined the others in never seeing the light of day.

Despite the perceived failure of the V-12 program, the massive aircraft managed to find its way into the world aviation record books as it set multiple records dealing with payload-to-altitude during flights in 1969.

Fortunately, both of the completed prototypes were saved from the scrap heap - the first residing at the MIL Moscow Helicopter Plant (Moscow) and the second finding a home at the outdoor Monino Air Force Museum Display (Monino Airfield) as of 2015.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (162mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Mil V-12 (Homer)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (2)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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