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Russian “Night Hunter” pivotal in the fight against ISIS

The Mil Mi-28N is a Russian all-weather, day-night, military tandem, two-seat anti-armor night attack helicopter.

Mil Mi-28N
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Around a couple of decades ago, the Mi-28N attack chopper has surged into the sky to make its presence felt. As of late, Russia’s premier air force asset is, once again, exploring the landscape above the Earth.

It’s a different story this time. The helicopter known as the “Night Hunter” is inflicting damage against the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra organisations.

A variation of the attack helicopter, which will be called Mi-28NM, has been undergoing further enhancement based on its combat experience in Syria. Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov has pointed out that the Mi-28 line of aviation helicopters will be getting upgrades.

Back in the 70s, the Mil and the Kamov design outfits have laid out their respective blueprints for the air vessel. The subsequent rotorcraft projects that came out are the Mi-28 and the Ka-50.

Moscow chose the Mil outline and the prototype for the “Night Hunter” was been born. From 1982 to 1987, the chopper has gone through a number of tests but it was in 1985 that the Mi-28A refurbished brand surfaced.

By 1993, the pre-serial cluster of the modern helicopter has been launched. Around this time, the military finds it necessary to turn the aircraft into a dominating and tough metal bird. This means that the chopper will be able to withstand all-weather conditions and security threats.

In 1996, the chopper’s improved version emerges as the N28 with the capability to navigate risky low altitudes and challenging terrain conditions. Its integration into the Russian Helicopter Group has fueled its official inclusion into government service as ordered by the Defense Ministry in 2013.

The Mi-28N’s “Night Hunter” moniker has floated around due to its vital feature. Its nickname has been in consonance with the Tor optoelectronic target sight system which is equipped with a thermal image and a laser range finder.

Mi-28N with radar station and new nose sensors - Vitaly V. Kuzmin
Mi-28N with radar station and new nose sensors – Vitaly V. Kuzmin

With this sophisticated component, the chopper has a viewing range of up to 10 kilometers even under pitch black conditions. During surveillance operations, night vision goggles are utilized.

When it comes to firepower, the Mi-28N is a pro. In addition to a 30-mm fixed mobile gun upfront, the helicopter is able to accommodate 16 anti-tank supersonic guided missiles. Aircraft-launched rockets are also available against enemy targets.

Read more on the Russian Military in Syria.

Written by Brian Ang

Brian is a journalist based in the Philippines and specializes in the South China Sea dispute and the global threat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS).

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