The Mi-24 is a military attack helicopter that received an interesting, unusual for a helicopter, nickname «Crocodile», perhaps because of some visual similarity.
Helicopters in world aviation play a significant role, are not inferior to airplanes and make a colossal contribution, daily perform important, responsible flights and tasks, fly for the benefit of people and states. The Mi-24 is a widely known combat helicopter in the world, it is in service with many countries, including Ukraine.
The history of the helicopter began back in 1968 with the beginning of the development of a combat vehicle at the Mil Design Bureau, which developed the Mi-8 helicopter, legendary at all times, around the same period. In the shortest time by aviation standards, in less than 3 years, not just a prototype of the helicopter was presented, but already in 1971 the helicopter was put on the conveyor, assembly of the machine began. The use and installation of a number of components and assemblies, including the engine from the well-known Mi-8 and the Mi-14 amphibious helicopter, contributed to the reduction of the helicopter design time and its further production.
Let us dwell on the technical characteristics and design features of the Mi-24 helicopter. Initially, the experimental machine was designed and manufactured with a cockpit, generally accepted, as in civilian helicopters, with a transverse placement of pilots known as a “veranda”, that is, next to each other. To improve flight performance in 1970, the cockpit design was changed, the placement of the pilot and operator became longitudinal, one after the other. It is sealed with internal overpressure to avoid the entry of radioactive or contaminated components and particles, and an air conditioning system is installed. The pilot’s seat is located higher than the operator’s for convenience. The cockpit, pilot’s seat, heated armored windshields, as well as engine hoods are equipped with armor plates.
The central part of the helicopter is designed to transport 8 paratroopers, or is used to transport cargo weighing no more than 1500 kg. The on-board technician is also located here. On external hangers, the helicopter can carry up to 2400 kg. The standard fuel weight is 2100 liters, and the total takeoff weight is 11500 kg, with an empty weight of the helicopter 8650.
To improve the stability of the helicopter during flight at speeds of more than 200 km/h, in addition to a modified cabin, a wing with an area of 6.75 square meters with a negative inclination V – 12 degrees was installed. Such a wing design is capable of increasing lift by 20-30%, and, accordingly, reducing the load on the main rotor and engine at speed. Moreover, the vertical pylons of the wing serve as a place for mounting weapons and suspensions for missiles and bombs.
Depending on the modification and year of manufacture, it carries small arms, guided missiles, unguided missiles, air-to-air missiles, as well as bombs or cassettes weighing up to 500 kg. The helicopter is equipped with various tactical and technical means of combat, counteraction and protection in a wide range of capabilities.
The cruising speed of the helicopter is 250 km/h, and the maximum speed is 335 km/h. The helicopter is accelerated mainly by a pair of TV3-117VMA engines produced in the city of Zaporozhye. Takeoff power can vary from 2200-2500 horsepower, in flight mode 1900-2200 h/p.
The main task of the attack aircraft is to cover the infantry, land troops, conduct combat with ground and air targets, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and various types of aircraft.
According to information from open sources, in 2019 there were 119 combat vehicles in Ukraine. As of 2021, the 24th is the second most common helicopter in the world after the McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache. The Mi-24 helicopter is currently in service with the Ukrainian army.
Who would have thought, it is very interesting that the Crocodile, Apache and many other such machines, developed in the distant seventies, continue to be on alert to this day, in our time.