Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mi-17V-5 Still In Great Demand

Russia’s OBORONPROM United Aircraft Corp may have lost the lucrative contract for supplying air-mobility helicopters to the Royal Malaysian Air Force, but it remains on track to maintain its market leadership in China, India and Indonesia. Jakarta will by the decade’s end, end up as Moscow’s principal weapons export customer for the Mi-17 family of utility helicopters in Southeast Asia. But it is China that will become Russia’s largest customer for the Mi-17 family of utility helicopters, despite Beijing’s growing helicopter-related industrial joint-ventures with Eurocopter. Late last year, Russia’s OBORONPROM United Aircraft Corp inked a deal with China’s Sichuan-based Lantian Helicopter Co under which the Ulan-Ude Aviation Industrial Plant will supply 20 Mi-17V-5 helicopters in fully knocked-down condition to Lantain, which in turn will licence-assemble them for delivery to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA is expected to acquire up to 160 Mi-17V-5s over the next five years. Eventually, Ulan-Ude will transfer its entire Mi-17 airframe production facility to Lantian, as it gears up for producing the Mi-38 and Mi-54 medium-lift multi-role helicopters. The PLA will equip its licence-assembled Mi-17V-5s with indigenously-developed chin-mounted FLIR turrets, nose-mounted weather radars and glass cockpit avionics.
The PLA’s Army Aviation Corps presently operates a fleet of 240 Mi-17s in three versions—Mi-17 and Mi-171 produced by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant; and Mi-17V-5 produced by Russia’s Tatarstan-based Kazan Helicopter Plant (KHP). The PLA ordered its first batch of 24 Mi-17s in 1990 and received them in 1991. In 1995, the PLA ordered 60 Mi-171s, which were delivered in 1997. By early 2003 the PLA had received about 191 Mi-17s, Mi-171s and Mi-17V-5s. This figure increased to 216 with the order of 25 M-17V-7s in 2003. The latest batch of 24 Mi-17V-5s were ordered in 2006. In Indonesia, the Army (TNI-AD), which received eight Mi-2s and two Mi-171s in 2003 from KHP and made an abortive bid to procure another four Mi-171s worth US$21.6 million in 2004, has now begun receiving 17 Mi-17V-5s—six from KHP and the rest from Ulan-Ude, which were ordered on September 6 last year. The first three Mi-17V-5s were delivered by KHP on July 3 at Juanda Airport in Surabaya. Eventually, the TNI-AD is expected to operate a fleet of more than 50 Mi-17V-5s.
The Mi-17V-5 features a loading ramp (instead of the traditional rear clamshells), a starboard door (which has necessitated moving the auxiliary power unit above the door), and a ‘Dolphin’-shaped nose section under which a stabilised pod containing a thermal imager/TV and laser designator is fitted for fire-control of the Vikhr/Shturm-V/Ataka anti-armour guided missiles. The entire airframe features a high degree of ballistics tolerance and is crash-resistant. It also comes equipped with an emergency flotation system. Its internal cabin volume is sufficient for transporting up to 26 fully-equipped infantry soldiers for vertical envelopment operations. For the air assault role (which can also be used for CSAR), the Mi-17V-5 comes equipped with a wide array of external stores that are mounted on weapons racks on each side of the fuselage. For anti-armour operations, the Mi-17V-5 has six external hardpoints that can carry four missile launchers of the B8V20 and APU-8/4U types, with Shturm-V or Ataka laser-guided anti-armour missiles launched with the aid of an on-board PUS-31-71 fire-control system. The BDZ-57KRVM bomb carrier is used for the attachment of bombs up to 500kg. The Mi-17V-5 can also carry four UPK-23-250 gun containers with GSh-23L 23mm guns and pivoted mounts (eight units). The forward and aft hemispheres of the Mi-17V-5 are protected by detachable PKT 7.62mm machine-guns with independent power supply and remote control circuits. For the armed air assault role the Mi-17V-5 can be armed with four S-5 rocket pods firing UV-57-32 57mm unguided rockets, or four B8V20-A rocket pods housing 20 S-8 80mm rocket pods, or two B13L rocket pods for five S-13 122mm rockets, and two S-24 250mm rockets. The Mi-17V-5 comes equipped with a new main rotor system comprising five blades built with carbon-reinforced fibre, main rotor hub with elastomeric hinges, and a modified swash plate. The helicopter is powered by twin Klimov VK-2500P engines optimised for hot-and-high flight operations, and a new transmission and gearbox are now able to better exploit the 2,700hp available from the VK-2500Ps. The engines now provide 2,700hp for takeoff, 2,100hp for continuous flight and 1,900hp for cruise flight when carrying 26 troops. The total technical service life (TTSL) of the VK-2500P is 9,000 hours, which is 3,000 hours more than comparable turboshaft engines built by Turbomeca and GE Aero Engines. Additional air filters on the turbine air intakes and turbine gas diffuser exhausts ensure that the Mi-17V-5 can operate in and out of dusty environments and at the same time have a low infra-red signature. In addition, new composite main and tail rotor blades combine to provide out-of-ground-effect hover capabilities at 11,500kg takeoff weight of 3,700 metres ISA, and hover at 4,500 metres ISA and 3,900 metres ISA in-ground effect. The new-design APU enables air-conditioning or heating to be used during the takeoff phase, and the use of plug-in hydraulic appliances for durations of up to six hours. The Mi-17V-5 also features an extra port door on the starboard side, and flat rear fuselage ramp for easier access, and can also be equipped with a wide range of night vision goggle-compatible, modular flight/mission avionics suites of European, US, Russian and Israeli origin, depending on specific customer preferences. The suites, integrated via a MILSTD-1553B digital data bus, include a night vision goggle-compatible cockpit display package; a communications package inclusive of HF/VHF/UHF encrypted radios and a secure data link; integrated self-protection package comprising a radar warning receiver, infra-red (IR) jammer, combined laser/missile warner, and chaff/flare dispensers; open-architecture mission computer; navigation package that includes a ring laser gyro-based inertial navigation system coupled to a GPS receiver, weather radar and IFF transponder; a multisensory stabilised turret containing a 3rd generation FLIR, CCD camera and a combined laser rangefinder/designator; and a weapons package that includes unguided rockets, laser-guided anti-armour guided-missiles and within visual range air-to-air missiles. The Mi-17V-5s ordered by China and Indonesia feature glass cockpit avionics (featuring multifunction active matrix liquid crystal displays or AMLCDs) and a mission sensor suite (the KNEI-17V-5 and PVRK-17V-5) developed by Russia’s TECHNOCOMPLEX and Urals Optical Mechanical Plant (UOMZ), with the latter also supplying the optional chin-mounted GEOS-321 FLIR turret. Vympel’s UV-30MK flare dispensers are also fitted on board.—Prasun K. Sengupta
Photos 1, 2 & 3: Mi-17V-5’s glass cockpits


Anonymous said...

after some time chinese will have their own m17v5 varient

like j11b varient

but russia is clever it has not supplied TOT FOR the engine and rotor tech

max said...

Lolz I remember reading somewhere that you were the one questioning India's purchase of Mi-17s saying there's not much room for upgrading.

Anonymous said...

he was wrong as usual. af chief fh major, a chopper pilot himself, waxed eloquent about the mi-17s in a recent interview. 80 are to be purchased by iaf replacing around 2/3rds of the same number of mi-8s and will make a huge difference to IAF air lift capability.

Anonymous said...

WHO R Those on bharat rakshak forum
to discuss various defence related topics

r they military analyst,
ex servicemen of armed forces,scientists or something else

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Max@2.35AM: Max, please don't be taken in by the glass cockpit photos. The Mi-17V-5 does not have a digital autopilot, has absolutely no chance of being equipped with a fly-by-wire floight control system, and lastly, does not have dual redundant hydraulics, which is mandatory for similar helicopters of non-Russian origin (this includes the Dhruv as well). Even half of the technologies found on the Dhruv ALH have yet to be incorporated on the Mi-17V-5. The Ruskies are instead incorporating all such technologies on the Mi-38.

To Anon@5.38AM: Don't jump to conclusions about my views/opinions and make abrasive conclusions. Kindly get a second opinion from helicopter OEMs, including HAL, about the technologies required on board new-generation medium-lift air-mobility.utility helicopters before you form an informed opinion. If the Mi-17V-5 was that good then HAL would not have planned to develop a 10-tonne medium-lift helicopter, and would instead have simply licence-built the Mi-17. So kindly try to arrive at a rational conclusion.

Anonymous said...


The Mi-17V-5 does not have a digital autopilot, has absolutely no chance of being equipped with a fly-by-wire floight control system, and lastly, does not have dual redundant hydraulics, which is mandatory for similar helicopters of non-Russian origin (this includes the Dhruv as well).

THEN THEhelicopter of non russian origin must b costlier mouch more than mi17v5

v bought each mi17 for 12.5 million

its a proven machine

and the similar catagory western helicopters cost no less than 20 million a piece

Prasun K Sengupta said...

TO Anon@11:28AM: You're right about that, no doubt about it. The S-92 and EC-725 cost about US$25 million and 27 million Euros.

Anonymous said...

to sengupta

to sengupta

my point is that v need those machines which r well proven

they should b performent like mi17 no matter they r sophisticated
like The S-92 and EC-725 or not

and in this case mi17v5 fits on the top

v can buy 2 mi17v5 for the cost of one s92 and ec 725 ,so mi17v5definitely its a better option no matter it doesn't has all those fancy stuff like in western helos

it has no need of all those FBW software etc. and all these thing increase the cost ,and if the same purpose can b achieved by simpler option so y include those systems

and mi17v5 serves well for its money

Anonymous said...

to senguppta

can u tell me that kamov helos
like ka 50,28,31

also have simpler stuff like mi17 helo ,mil mi28

and what r the prices of kamov helos compared to western counterparts

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:35PM: I agree with you totally that one needs to go for a well-proven flying platform. But what constitutes 'proven' is actually the certification of airworthiness that is awarded to any new helicopter. While it is true that the Mi-17V-5 as it now exists is a lot cheaper than the AW-101 or EC-725 or HH-92, it must be noted that incorporation of technologies like glass cockpits, digital autopilot, FBW flight controls and full authority digital engine controls have been introduced and incorporated primarily to enhance the flight safety features and ensure platform survivability in the event of taking hostile fire from air defence artillery. And flight safety and crew/passenger survivability are issues that are priceless. You cannot place a value upon them and must therefore spend as much as is required to ensure that lives are not lost due to any design/performance deficiency. And it is for this very reason that the Russians themselves, in the post-Soviet era, have begun to come up with new-generation helicopters for their own armed forces. These include the Mi-38 to replace the Mi-17, and the Mi-46 to replace the Mi-26T.
Regarding the Mi-28NE, Ka-50 and Ka-52, their per-unit costs will be 50% lower, but this margin will be reduced to 20% if a customer wants to equip these helicopters with Western avionics or integrated defensive countermeasures suites. For example, the Ka-31 is a very good and rugged machine, but the problem is the belly-mounted OKO radar, which imposes a drag penalty on the helicopter and reduces its endurance. However, this problem could be resolved if the OKO radar is replaced by the Seaspray 7000e from SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems. This radar is multi-mode, is active phased-array, and can be used for both maritime surveillance, over-the-horizon targetting, search & rescue, as well as airborne early warning & control. It is these typers of upgrades that ought to be undertaken by the Indian Navy for its helicopters.

Ankur said...

Its not a question of buying technology for technologys sake but buying WELL INTEGRATED and PROVEN systems. In that sense, both Mi-17 and Ka-31 are very well designed for their role, ALSO, replacing Ka-31 radar - is you have to be kidding?! Because planar array on Ka-31 is well meant for naval role and is very lightweight. Not only that but the entire avionics suite is very tightly integrated and Russia sold us the entire package not just a flying chopper with a radar
Coming back to the Mi-17, the IAF is very well aware of Mi-17 and has huge amount of logistics set up for Mi-17 use which makes it best choice rather than western hangar queens which arwe very good on paper brochures but lousy in operation.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

TO Ankur: If one were to accept your point on buying well-integrated & proven systems, then the IAF would surely have selected the Mi-17V-5 for VVIP flying, instead of the AgustaWestland AW-101.
Regarding the Ka-31 and its E-801E L-band AEW radar made by NNIIRT Nizhny Novgorod Research Radiotechnical Institute and comparing it with the Seaspray 7000e, the latter being an active phased-array system definitely has a distinct performance edge over the E-801. It is also 70% lighter and is contained within a belly-mounted radome, rather than being underslung. Therefore, the dramatic combined weight/drag reduction (when using the Seaspray 7000e), coupled with the E-801's 200-hour MTBF versus the Seaspray 7000e's achieved 1,000-hour MTBF (on board an Italian Navy AW-101), makes for a pretty convincing argument in favour of doing away with the E-801 if possible. Incidentally, the Seaspray 7000e is also being offered along with ELTA's EL/M-2022(V)2 on board the EADS/Airbus A319MPA.
Lastly, the Ka-31s acquired thus far by the Indian Navy can communicate (via one-way data link) with only the three Project 1135.6 Talwar-class FFGs, although efforts are now being made by the Navy to overcome this limitation by using elements of the BEL-built LINK-2 system.

Ankur said...


The VVIPs are getting a handful of birds which will very likely be used as glorified taxis.
The Mi-17V5 will be posted and flown to remote areas where the Mi-17 is ALREADY proven. You fail to understand the investment that will be required to sustain brand new 80 helicopter fleet when logistics commonality already supports Mi-17. Why else do you think the Il-76 was chosen for Phalcon and not gee-whiz Airbus or Boeing with much more commercial technology for flight comfort. Because IAF knows the level of logistics Il-76 even with upgraded avionics can muster.

Now ur second claim of replacing the radar is also problem.

Because it is not juzst the radar. Russian systems are very tightly coupled with each other and replacing them is something which is very time consuming and painful. If IN wanted to replace the radar they could have gone for simpler off the shelf chopper and then had radar purchased and integrated with them. You are also not correct about talwars being only recipient of ka-31 info. That has been overcome by making local version of gyro synchronised navigation system for other ships and coordinating with Ka-21. Good day

Prasun K Sengupta said...

I can confidently tell you that without an on-board digital autopilot, radar altimeter and ring laser gyro-based INS, any Mi-17V-5 flying over jungle or mountaneous terrain will be limited to flying only during VFR conditions. It won't be IFR-capable even if equipped with a weather radar, and as such will not be available for 24-hour flight ops. That could perhaps explain why the IAF is scouting for IFR-capable helicopters like the CH-47F or CH-53K for high-altitude aerial logistics ops.
The limitations of avionics retrofits applied to the Ka-25s and Ka-28PLs have snince been overcome and hence the India-based Rosoboronservice JSC is now proposing an open-architecture avionics suite using MIL-STD-1553B databus for the forthcoming upgrade programme for the Ka-28PLs. Regarding the gyro-stabilised navigation systems on the Ka-31, are you referring here to the helicopter's principal long-range navigation system? Because if that's the case then is the conventional dry-tuned gyro being replaced by a ring laser gyro-based inertial navigation system coupled to a GPS receiver? Because this is exactly what's specified in the RFI for upgrading the Ka-28PLs and Sea King Mk42Bs in future.

Anonymous said...

to sengupta

Regarding the Mi-28NE, Ka-50 and Ka-52, their per-unit costs will be 50% lower, but this margin will be reduced to 20% if a customer wants to equip these helicopters with Western avionics or integrated defensive countermeasures suites.

RUSSIAN mgd r available,flare despecensers r available,

russian ECM systems r good as well
no need to replace them.

and mind that mi17 has already been used in kargil,

v don't IFR capablre helos its a dangerous task and an unnessary task for helos

it will b used in eastern hilly areas ,in j&k ,thar desert

Anonymous said...

using Seaspray 7000e radar where will the cost of helo will shoot

Anonymous said...

If the Mi 17V-5 tooling and manufacturing is being shut down and sold to the Chinese, what is the point in the IAF buying more of these birds. Obviously Russia will not be able to provide any spare parts. Do we have to run to the Chinese for parts or what?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The Chinese are getting the Mi-17V-5 plant that is located in Ulan-Ude in the Far East. The IAF's Mi-17s will be coming from the Kazan Helicopter Plant in the Caucasus. It remains to be seen if the IAF's new Mi-17s will have glass cockpits supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries (the PEAK 17 package), or by the Honeywell/BAE Systems joint venture, or by the Russians.

Anonymous said...

Pheeww...thanks for the info Prasun.
Great work on the blog BTW.