Russia: a tiltrotor and an assault helicopter for the future
Complicated projects that require a long time
Two possible novelties might come from the Russian aerospace industry. The first concerns a tiltrotor (plane+helicopter) designed to compete with the US V-22 Osprey and a new assault helicopter to replace the Mil Mi-24.
Already in October 2017, the Rostec company announced the construction of a first tiltrotor prototype; the first public appearance should be made in 2019, and the big news for this aircraft would be the fact that it will be light -just 1.5 tons- and powered by an electric motor, which allows it to fly efficiently, reliably and silently. This might be a very important steps forward, but unlike the V-22 Osprey could hardly load airborne troops on board as little weight, becoming useful for reconnaissance tasks or as a platform for further development of these models.
At the same time a helicopter is being developed that can replace the iconic Mi-24, capable of carrying eight paratroopers behind enemy lines and supporting them thanks to its paraphernalia. Paradoxically, the two projects could collide and lead to the birth of only a new helicopter, since the Russian industry has excellent skills in the rotary wing and the armed forces have always employed the airborne infantry in a different way from the US concept.
Replacing the Mil Mi-24 will not be an easy task, because it is a 9-ton helicopter that touches about 320 kilometers per hour, which makes it slower than the UH-64 Apache, but at the same time it is better armed being equipped with 12-machine guns 7 mm, two 23 and 30 mm cannons and three attack points for air-to-air missiles, anti-tank or bombs. Moreover, unlike any aircraft ever produced at the great firepower -basically a gunship- it combines the ability to carry eight soldiers, a choice that was also made by Israel in building its own Merkava tank.
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