Mil Mi-24 Helicopter
The Mil Mi-24 is a large helicopter gunship and attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for 8 passengers. It is produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force, its successors, and by over thirty other nations.
In NATO circles, the export versions, Mi-25 and Mi-35, are denoted with a letter suffix as "Hind D" and "Hind E" respectively. Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the "flying tank". More common unofficial nicknames were "Crocodile" to the helicopter's camouflage scheme and "Glass" because of the flat glass plates which surround the cockpit of the Mi-24.
The core of the aircraft was derived from the Mil Mi-8 (NATO reporting name "Hip"): two top-mounted turboshaft engines driving a mid-mounted 17.3 m five-blade main rotor and a three-blade tail rotor. The engine configuration gave the aircraft its distinctive double air intake. Original versions have an angular greenhouse-style cockpit; Model D and later have a characteristic tandem cockpit with a "double bubble" canopy. Other airframe components came from the Mi-14 "Haze". Two mid-mounted stub wings provide weapon hardpoints, each offering three stations, in addition to providing lift. The load-out mix is mission dependent; Mi-24s can be tasked with close air support, anti-tank operations, or aerial combat.
The body is heavily armored and can resist impacts from .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rounds from all angles, including the titanium rotor blades. The cockpit is protected by ballistic-resistant windscreens and a titanium-armored tub. The cockpit and crew compartment are overpressurized to protect the crew in NBC conditions.
Considerable attention was given to making the Mi-24 fast. The airframe was streamlined, and fitted with retractable tricycle undercarriage landing gear to reduce drag. The wings provide considerable lift at high speed, up to a quarter of total lift. The main rotor was tilted 2.5° to the right from the fuselage to counteract dissymmetry of lift at high speed and provide a more stable firing platform. The landing gear was also tilted to the left so the rotor would still be level when the aircraft was on the ground, making the rest of the airframe tilt to the left. The tail was also asymmetrical to give a side force at speed, thus unloading the tail rotor.
A modified Mi-24B, named A-10, was used in several speed and time to climb world record attempts. The helicopter had been modified to reduce weight as much as possible, and among the measures used was to remove the stub wings. The speed record over a closed 1000 km course set on 13 August 1975 of 332.65 km/h still stands, as does many of the female specific records set by the all female crew of Galina Rastorgoueva and Ludmila Polyanskaia. On 21 September 1978 the A-10 set the absolute speed record for helicopters with 368.4 km/h over a 15/25 km course.