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).
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.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
64.6 ft (19.70 m)
69.2 ft (21.10 m)
16.8 ft (5.13 m)
18,298 lb (8,300 kg)
31,306 lb (14,200 kg)
+13,007 lb (+5,900 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Mil Mi-38 production variant)
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.
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