The wide availability of Mi-24/35
"Hind" helicopters in the third world and Eastern European countries is
attracting aviation industries specializing in modernizations to offer
upgrading packages for this rotorcraft. More than
3,000 Hinds designed by the Russian design bureau Mil, were built and
produced in Moscow, Rostov and Arsenyev factories since their 1970
inception. About 1,500 are believed to remain in service in some 30
countries. Modernization and
"Westernization" packages are currently offered by the Russian Rostvertol
company, as well as by a number of western companies, from the UK, Israel
and South Africa.
The Russians introduced basic modifications
with their Mi-24 design, with the installation of cockpit lighting
modifications, compatible with night vision goggles. Other improvements
include the installation of US supplied FLIRs, GPS navigation systems, (as
provided to the air force of Zimbabwe).
Further modifications are now promoted by Rosvertol
The first major modification was performed on
a Mi-24/35 fleet, probably in India. The Israel Aircraft Industries Tamam
electro-optics company performed a comprehensive conversion for the an
unidentified Mi-24 fleet, with the introduction of night operation
`Mission 24' (shown in photo above), the modification included 25
helicopters fitted with the Tamam Multi-mission Optronics Stabilized Payload
system incorporating TV, FLIR imaging and automatic target tracker, and an
IAI/MLM mission computer. The cockpit was modified to comply with night
vision goggles lighting and a monocular helmet sight.
El-Op, currently a subsidiary
of Elbit Systems, has also proposed a derivative of its COMPAS thermal/TV
optronics payload for Mi-24 installation. The company offers its
comprehensive upgrading suite for Mi-24s, including a digitized, highly
integrated "glass cockpit", and enhanced weapons systems integration.
The helicopter retain the Russian 9K113M Ataka
missiles, but will also be able to use western anti-tank missiles chosen by
the operating air force. For example, Poland recently announced the
selection of the Israeli Spike ER
(formerly known as NT-D) was chosen.