The Mil Mi-1 Hare light utility helicopter marked the first Soviet helicopter to enter quantitative production for operational service.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant has been in the rotary-wing business since the Cold War-era and their first notable creation was the Mi-1, NATO codename of "Hare". Some 2,600 of this single-engine, three-seat light utility helicopter were produced from 1950 until 1965 with service introduction in 1950. The Mi-1 marked the first helicopter to enter serial production for the Soviet Union and the type's manufacture was also taken up in Poland by WSK PZL-Swidnik under the PZL "SM-2" designation.
The Mi-1 began in a mid-1940s Soviet initiative under the product name of "EG-1" and this was refined into the "GM-1" powered by an Ivchenko AI-26GE radial engine of up to 550 horsepower output. A first-flight of a prototype was recorded on September 20th, 1948 and state trials followed in the subsequent year (at least two prototypes crashed during testing but this was not enough to derail production). Once adopted for service it was given the official designation of "Mi-1" and known to the United States Department of Defense (DoD) as the "Type 32'. An order for fifteen initial units was placed in February of 1950 and manufacture of the product ramped up in the following years.
The early Mi-1 form was a three-seat platform seating the pilot at front overlooking the nose and up to two passengers behind this position. The aircraft was certainly ungainly but a product of the period when rotary-wing flight was really coming into its own. The nosecone assembly was short and heavily windowed to afford the pilot as much vision out-of-the-cockpit was possible. More window panels were affixed to the side of the rounded fuselage. The engine was sat over the cabin roof with a solid mounting raising the three-bladed main rotor unit high above the cabin roof line. The tail unit was slim and held the applicable horizontal and vertical planes. At the extreme aft of the aircraft was a three-bladed anti-torque rotor set to the starboard side. The undercarriage was of a tricycle arrangement and wheeled through fixed in place during flight. Power was from an AI-26GRF radial engine of 575 horsepower.
The Mi-1T followed with a switch to the AI-26V radial piston engine. The Mi-1KR (TKR) was a light reconnaissance model doubling as a liaison platform and was introduced in 1956. The Mi-1NKh was another base utility model influenced by the Mi-1T mark and intended to serve in a variety of civilian market roles. The Mi-1A was introduced in 1957 and featured improved reliability. The Mi-1AKR was its light reconnaissance / liaison model.
The Mi-1U, Mi-1TU, Mi-1AU and Mi-1MU were dual-control trainer versions of the above primary models.
In 1957 arrived the Mi-1M which introduced a forth seat. The cabin's roof was slightly raised and the nose redesigned. The Mi-1M "Moskvich" was adopted by carrier Aeroflot and equipped with improved sound protection for the passengers as well as an all-metal main rotor assembly and hydraulic-assisted control scheme. The Mi-1MNKh was based on the Mi-1M and intended for the civilian market in a variety of roles.
The Mi-1MG carried floats for on-water landings and was introduced in 1958 though production of this model totaled just two examples. The Mi-1MRK was a prototype version set to serve in the liaison / artillery-spotting roles but not adopted after testing in the early 1960s. The Mi-1MU was another one-off model tested with anti-tank missiles.
The Poles took to license, local production of the Mi-1 and this began with the SM-1 fitting the LiT-3 radial piston engine. Then followed the SM-1/600 with increased lifespan in 1957. In 1960 arrived the SM-1W which was the Polish equivalent of the Mi-1M mark. The SM-1Wb was the Mi-1M with increased reliability and introduced in 1963. The SM-1WS served in the MEDEVAC role and the SM-1WSz was the dual-control trainer form. The SM-1WZ served the agricultural sector and the SM-2 was developed as an improved SM-1 with lengthened fuselage and seating for up to five. The Mi-3 was another (proposed) improvement on the line and carried a four-bladed main rotor assembly. This offering was replaced by the PZL W-3 Sokol coming in the 1980s.
Operators of the Mi-1 ranged from Afghanistan and Albania to Vietnam and Yemen - mainly Soviet allies and supported states.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
[ 2,600 Units ] : Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant - Soviet Union
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Bulgaria; China; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Egypt; Finland; Hungary; Iraq; Mongolia; North Korea; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union; Syria; United Arab Republic; North Vietnam (Vietnam); Yemen
- Commercial Market
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
39.70 ft (12.1 m)
47.08 ft (14.35 m)
10.83 ft (3.3 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Mil Mi-1 (Hare) production model)
3,748 lb (1,700 kg)
5,137 lb (2,330 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Mil Mi-1 (Hare) production model)
1 x Ivchenko AI-26V radial piston engine developing 575 horsepower and driving three-bladed main rotor and two-bladed tail rotor.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Mil Mi-1 (Hare) production model)
115 mph (185 kph; 100 kts)
11,483 feet (3,500 m; 2.17 miles)
267 miles (430 km; 232 nm)
1,045 ft/min (319 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Mil Mi-1 (Hare) production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Anti-tank missiles trialed but not implemented in operational models.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Mil Mi-1 (Hare) production model)
EG-1 - Original product designation
GM-1 - Revised product designation; prototypes powered by Ivchenko AI-26GR radial piston engine of 500 to 550 horsepower.
Mi-1 - Initial production model; three-seat form; fitted with AI-26GRF radial engine of 575 horsepower.
Mi-1T - Fitted with AI-26V radial engine.
Mi-1KR (TKR) - Model of 1956; light reconnaissance / liaison model based on Mi-1T mark.
Mi-1NKh - Utility model based on Mi-1T for civilian market sectors
Mi-1A - General purpose model of 1957; improved reliability
Mi-1AKR - Light reconnaissance / liaison model based on Mi-1A mark.
Mi-1U - Dual-control trainer model of Mi-1
Mi-1TU - Dual-control trainer model of Mi-1T
Mi-1AU - Dual-control trainer model of Mi-1A
Mi-1MU - Dual-control trainer model of Mi-1M
Mi-1M - Four-seat variant introduced in 1957; revised nose section and raised cabin roof line.
Mi-1M "Moskvich" - Aeroflot passenger model; all-metal rotor; hydraulic control scheme; soundproofing added to passenger cabin.
MI-1MNKh - Utility model based on Mi-1M mark for civilian market roles.
Mi-1MG - Model of 1958; based on Mi-1M with floats for on-water landings / take-offs; two examples completed.
Mi-1MRK - Model of 1960; liaison / artillery-spotting platform prototype based on Mi-1M frame.
SM-1 - Polish local production model of Mi-1; fitted with LiT-3 radial engine.
SM-1/600 - Improved Polish mode of 1957
SM-1W - Polish Mi-1M model of 1960
SM-1WS - Polish Mi-1M model of 1963; improved reliability.
SM-1WSz - Polish MEDEVAC model
SM-1WZ - Polish agricultural sector model
SM-2 - Improved Polish mark with lengthened fuselage and seating for five.
Mi-3 - Proposed improved Mi-2 with four-bladed main rotor design; not adopted.
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