The number of new Mi-8 Family helicopters operated by Russian air forces should be increased to 400 ones by 2020 (at present 50 vehicles of this type are operated), RIA Novosti reports with reference to the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Colonel Vladimir Drik.
"50 Mi-8 Family helicopters will be operated in 2012 and the air forces intend to have 400 vehicles of this type by 2020", - he said.
Drik added that the latest modifications of this vehicle – Mi-8AMTSh and Mi-8MTV5-1, will be demonstrated in the network of Common Sky airshow, which will be held in Zhukovsky on August 12th 2012. The show is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Russian air forces.
The colonel reminded that Mi-8 is the most wide-spread helicopter in Russian air forces. "More than 30 modifications of this vehicle have been manufactured for the Russian Ministry of Defense over the last 50 years. These are armed transport helicopters, jammers, flying command posts, communication, search and rescue ones, etc.", - he noted.
He also noted that Mi-14 amphibious helicopter, Mi-9 flying command post and Mi-17 (export version) have been derived from Mi-8 vehicle.
Mi-8 helicopter with four-bladed rotor performed its first flight on August 2nd 1962. The testing of second version equipped with five-bladed rotor was started in October 1963 and its serial production was launched in late 1965. The first Mi-8s were delivered to the Soviet army in 1966.
"During its 50-year history Mi-8 has taken part in all the wars, including Afghanistan and local conflicts at the territory of Russia", - Drik noted.
According to the Ministry of Defense, this helicopter has a high reliability and ability to carry out missions under conditions of very high and low ambient temperatures. The helicopter’s performance allows operating it on the flat terrain as well as under conditions of highland.