Russian Helicopters – a subsidiary of the Rostec State Corporation – and representatives from the Russian defence ministry have begun joint state tests with the Mil Mi-26T2V heavy-lift tactical transport helicopter.
The tests are part of Russian Helicopters’ programme to upgrade and modernise the Mi-26s currently employed by the Russian Aerospace Forces and are scheduled to conclude by the end of the year.
According to a press release, Mi-26T2V testing will take place at four proving grounds and the main objective of the trials is to check “the main performance characteristics of the helicopter and operation of new equipment”. The Russian military will be directly involved with the joint state tests, providing personnel who will form part of the helicopter’s flight test crew.
The Mi-26T2V is a modernised version of the Russian-made Mil Mi-26 (NATO reporting name Halo) – which is the largest and most powerful helicopter to have entered serial production. The Mil Mi-26 is 131ft 4in (40.025m) long and is 26ft 9in (8.145m) high. The aircraft requires five crew members to operate – two pilots, a navigator, a flight engineer and a flight technician. The Mi-26 has a service ceiling of 15,100ft (4,600m) and has a top speed of 295km/h (183mph), which is provided by a pair of Ivchenko-Progress AI-136 turboshaft engines. Russian Helicopters claims that the Mi-26 is able to carry 20 tonnes of cargo.
The modernised variant – the Mi-26T2V – has been integrated with the NPK90-2V avionics suite which enhances day and night flying while simplifying pilot workload and, according to the press release, enables the helicopter to fly a route “in an automatic mode, come to a preset point, perform approach and final approach [manoeuvres], and return to the main or alternate aerodrome”. The variant also features new onboard missile defence systems. The Mi-26T2V prototype first flew in August 2018.
Andrey Boginsky, Director General of the Russian Helicopters holding company, said: "Currently, [the] Mi-26T2V prototype has successfully completed preliminary tests at the manufacturing facility, allowing us to start the joint state tests [programme] which is to last through the entire year [of] 2020. We have taken into account all [of the] preferences of the customer and implemented them in [the] Mi-26T2V helicopter design. The performance of the machine will be considerably improved due to the [modernisation]. I am convinced that [the] Mi-26T2V helicopter will have a rightful place in the Russian armed forces."