Specialists of the State Scientific Testing Center (Державного науково-випробувального or Derzhavnoho naukovo-vyprobuvalʹnoho tsentru) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with engineers of the company Motor Sich (Мотор Січ) successfully conducted factory testing of a domestically upgraded Mi-2 on 28 November 2014.
The chopper – codenamed Hoplite by NATO – completed 44 test flights accumulating 56 hours in the air. Apart from standard aerial manoeuvers it performed a level ground to 12,000 feet (4,000 metres) climb in 12 minutes. Part of the Mi-2 upgrade is the new AI-450M engine, developed by the Ukrainian manufacturer Ivchenko-Prohres.
“It is almost a new chopper”, head of the State Scientific Testing Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Volodymyr Bashynskyy said. “The upgraded machine has a better performance compared to the baseline helicopter and will be 20 percent more economical once commissioned.” Interesting detail is that both the new upgraded Mi-2MSB2 and the one spotted earlier in the Ukrainian Air Force Museum in Vinnitsa bear number 07, but Airheadsfly.com could not get confirmed at this time if the new and old are one and the same machine.
Officially the Armed forces of Ukraine don’t have any Hoplites on strength anymore, but plans to reintroduce the utility and scout helicopter into service exist since 2011. Before the conflict with Russia on the Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine manufacturer Motor Sich had preliminary plans to produce 10 to 15 modernised Mi-2s per month – built from second hand machines on the market. But that number seems highly unlikely in the current economic and military state of the country. Initial cost projections were put at 9 million US dollar for every new machine.
Meanwhile Motor Sich has been negotiating with AgustaWestland daughter PZL Swidnik in Poland for co-operation in making both the Mi-2 and Polish Sokol helicopters. PZL was the sole Mi-2 producer of the former Warsaw Pact, building the machine between 1965 and 1998 on designes made by Mil Moscow. Of the 5,400 helicopters of the type that were delivered worldwide. In at least 20 countries the Mi-2s are available in fair condition and numbers for possible upgrades. Amongst them tens of machines with the Polish armed forces, of which more than 50 serve the Polish Air Force.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger