MILITARY Mi-26 HALO
The mighty Mil Mi-26 is a dual-use rotorcraft still being successfully marketed around the world. In recent years it has seen some exciting developments and found new export customers. Alexander Mladenov reports
Known under the NATO reporting system as the ‘Halo’, the Mi-26 is undoubtedly among Russia’s greatest aviation achievements. It is still in widespread service providing vital heavy-lift capability for a number of military and paramilitary operators worldwide. The Mi-26 made its maiden flight in December 1977 in the capable hands of prominent Mil Design Bureau test pilot Gurgen Karapetyan, and the first production examples rolled off the line in Rostov-on- Don in 1980, entering service with the Soviet military in 1983.