Russia has plans to develop a brand new stealth helicopter with an attack capability that would be undetectable by radar. As described within the Russian media, this helicopter would potentially be the first fifth-generation helicopter to be created.
The Gazeta publication published comments attributed to official Andrei Shibitov, who stated: “We [Russian Helicopters] are working on the concept of the fifth-generation combat helicopter.” No precise details on its performance or similar were given, save that a good $1bn was going to be used to develop the new stealth helicopter, and that this amount might be topped up in due course.
Stealth Helicopter Technology
According to Shibitov, at least two Russian helicopter firms were involved in developing fifth generation stealth helicopter technologies. One, Mil, was developing a helicopter with a traditional main rotor/ tail rotor arrangement while another, Kamov, was working on a helicopter with a coaxial rotor, where two main rotors are mounted above the fuselage and rotate in opposite directions.
According to defence experts, both approaches have advantages: the traditional arrangement offers higher reliability and boosted front-line survivability, while the coaxial provides a more stable platform.
New Russian Helicopter
The Russian newspaper quoted another official – Konstantin Sivkov, the first deputy head of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems – who specified a number of features that the new Russian helicopter was required to have. These included:
- A minimal radar profile
- A noise profile that’s minimised as much as possible
- A capability to cover large distances
- An ability to engage front line fighter jets
- A maximum speed as high as 370 miles per hour
The menacing-looking Mil Mi-24 Hind remains the backbone of the Russian helicopter fleet, with in excess of 300 in service with the Russian Army, Russian Army and Russian Navy. In all, approximately 2000 Hinds were built from 1969 onwards and they are operated by a wide variety of nations aside from Russia.
The fact that the Hind is a third-generation helicopter highlights the ambition of the Russian defence industry in looking towards new fifth-generation helicopter technologies but governmental support is needed to push the project forward.
“If the government does not sign a contract, the idea will die on the vine”, another Russian official told Gazeta.
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