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Mil Mi-38

Medium-Lift Twin-Engine Transport Helicopter

Russia | 2019

"The Mil Mi-38 medium-lift helicopter achieved certification in late-2015 and is intended to fill the gap between the Mi-8, Mi-17 an Mi-26 helicopter types."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/04/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant holds a long-running history of rotary-wing aircraft design and development, its first successful production endeavor becoming the Mi-1 of 1948. Today, Mil is set to introduce their latest development - the Mi-38 - intended to compete in the crowded and highly lucrative medium transport helicopter market in both civilian- and military-minded guises, its design comparable to the European AgustaWestland AW101/EH101 Merlin in scope and function. The initial Mi-38 prototype achieved first flight on December 22nd, 2003 and three prototype vehicles have been completed since with serial production set to begin in 2013. Manufacture of the aircraft is being handled by Kazan Helicopter Plant (Kazan Helicopters) out of the Republic of Tatarstan. The concern holds experience in producing other famous Mil helicopters including the Mi-8 and Mi-17 series transports.

In its finalized form, the Mi-38 will sport an all-glass digital cockpit (the prototype promoted a rather uninspiring and highly traditional setup with needled gauges) with a high degree of automation to allow for single-pilot function (though a two-pilot crew will still be a standard arrangement). System and mission displays will be presented in full color with push-button style accessibility. Externally, the Mi-38 will sport a more "Western" style compared to previous Mil offerings, being well-contoured through and through with an aerodynamically-friendly shape. The cockpit is situated at the extreme front-end of the fuselage in the usual way (dominated by a framed window arrangement) with the passenger/cargo compartment directly aft of the cockpit and underneath the twin engine installations. Based on available imagery, the undercarriage appears to be fixed in place and not retractable. This arrangement will consist of a pair of single-wheeled main legs and a twin-wheeled nose leg. General access will be through conventional rectangular fold-down/pull-down doors, doubling as staircase ramps, while dedicated transport versions will sport a larger rectangular door along the starboard side and a large powered cargo ramp under the tail unit giving unfettered access to the fuselage.

Mil plans to offer the Mi-38 in three distinct production versions - VIP, MEDEVAC and general utility transport. The VIP passenger variant will feature luxurious seating for up to 12 persons and sport a 700 kilometer ferry range. In the MEDEVAC role, the internal cabin will be arranged to space out up to 16 medical litters and light staff. The general utilize transport variant will be the multirole performer expected to undertake the role of passenger ferry or cargo hauler and most likely also marketed to interested military parties. In the former role, the internal cabin will be arranged to seat some 30 passengers with a ferry range of approximately 450 kilometers. In the latter role, the internal configuration will be such that cargo matching up to 5 tons will be permitted and an additional 7 tons will be carried under the fuselage via sling method. Beyond the presented roles, the adaptability of the Mi-38 airframe will be key to its long-term success. It will be configurable to roles such as Search & Rescue (SAR), over-water passenger transport (to service offshore drilling platforms and the like) and be capable of operating in day/night, all-weather environments due to the onboard advanced systems.

The Mi-38 airframe will host two distinct engine configurations to broaden its world-wide appeal - one version fitting 2 x Klimov TV7-117V turboshaft engines and the other fitted 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127/TS turboshaft engines - either selection rated with an output of 2,800 shaft horsepower each. In this way, Mil can market their new helicopter to historically Soviet-Russian aligned customers or Western customers with experience in the American Pratt & Whitney powerplant. The engines will power a large, six-bladed main rotor blade (of composite construction) and a pair of two-bladed tail rotors mounted atop one another (appearing as a four-bladed type assembly). Kazan lists a maximum speed for its Mi-38 of 285kph with a cruise speed of 275kmh. Ferry range will be 1,300km with extra fuel tanks utilized. The maximum service ceiling is reported as 5,100 meters with a hover ceiling of 2,800 meters.

While having undergone a rather lengthy developmental phase, it appears that the Mi-38 project is now (2013) picking up steam and will be made available to interested customers within the year. As of this writing, the Mi-38 has not received an official NATO designation codename (2016).

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December 2015 / January 2016 - It was announced that the Mi-38, in testing since 2003, has achieved type certification in Russia. Quantitative manufacture of the large helicopter is slated to begin this year (2016).

July 2017 - At MAKS 2017, Russian Air Force authorities announced a plan to procure a total of fifteen MiL 38 helicopters into 2020. An initial two vehicles will be acquired and these will be of the 30-seat passenger-hauling variety.

August 2017 - Kazan Helicopters began assembly of an Mi-38T serial prototype.

October 2017 - The Russian military is expressing greater interest in militarized variants of the Mi-38 product. This includes an Electronic Warfare (EW) and MEDEVAC model. A possible gunship-minded variant is also being entertained.

November 2019 - The Mil Mi-38 has made its international public debut at Dubai Air Show 2019.

January 2020 - Russian Helicopters has received its first export order for the new Mi-38T production model, marking a major milestone in the two-decades-long helicopter program.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Mil Mi-38 Medium-Lift Twin-Engine Transport Helicopter.
2 x Klimov TV7-117V OR Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127/TS turboshaft engines developing 2,800 shaft horsepower each powering a five-blade main rotor and 2 x 2-bladed (scissors-type) tail rotor.
186 mph
300 kph | 162 kts
Max Speed
19,357 ft
5,900 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
410 miles
660 km | 356 nm
Operational Range
1,810 ft/min
552 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Mil Mi-38 Medium-Lift Twin-Engine Transport Helicopter.
64.6 ft
19.70 m
O/A Length
69.2 ft
(21.10 m)
O/A Width
16.8 ft
(5.13 m)
O/A Height
18,298 lb
(8,300 kg)
Empty Weight
31,306 lb
(14,200 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Notable series variants as part of the Mil Mi-38 family line.
Mi-38 - Base Series Designation.
Mi-38T - Serial prototype.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Mil Mi-38. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 7 Units

Contractor(s): MIL Moscow Helicopter Plant / Kazan Helicopters / Russian Helicopters - Russia
National flag of Russia

[ Russia ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (186mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
2 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.
3 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.
4 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.
5 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.
6 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.
7 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.
8 / 8
Image of the Mil Mi-38
Image from Russian Helicopters official marketing material.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Mil Mi-38 Medium-Lift Twin-Engine Transport Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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