Kazan Helicopters, part of Russian Helicopters, produced the 7,500th Mi-8/17 series helicopter in the last week of May. The milestone machine is a Mi-8MTV-5 tactical transport helicopter for the Russian Air Force.
To date, more than 12,000 Mi-8s and its export version Mi-17s (NATO-name Hip) have been produced for customers in over 100 countries. Today’s Hip portfolio exists of three main versions. The Mi-8MTV-1 or Mi-171V for the export the base type, but can also serve in a medevac role. The Mi-8MTV-5 (export variant Mi-17V-5) is a military transport version designed to carry cargo inside and on an external sling, can be equipped for search and rescue mission and has the possibility to be armed with a range of weaponry. The Mi-172 is the passenger version of which a specialised VIP configuration is available.
The Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, which developed the Hip and is working together with Kazan in modernising the type, thinks it can keep production of the type up for at least another 15 to 20 years. The newest kids on the block are the Mi-17V-5 and the Mi-171A2. They come more than 50 years after the first series production version of the Mi-8 left the Kazan Helicopters plant in 1965 and subsequently showed up at the Paris Le Bourget Airshow. The Mi-8 is the successor of the Mi-4.
The Mi-8/17s are currently deployed for a wide range of tasks, including airborne command post, communications and anti-infantry and anti-tank minelayer, tank refuelling and repair, flying laboratory, as well as its medical, agricultural, search and rescue, crane, and passenger configurations.
Between 1965 and 1996 alone, during the high time of the Cold War, Kazan Helicopters built around 4,500 Mi-8s in different configurations. Demand for the Mi-8 was so great that in 1970, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant also started producing them. In the 1980s, the Mi-8 was modernised – becoming the Mi-8MT, export variant Mi-17, and became the basis for all subsequent upgrades (Mi-8MTV, Mi-8AMT and so on). Recently the 3,500th Mi-17, the export version, was delivered to the Indian Armed Forces.
Source: Russian Helicopters