Yes, the normal flight crew for the Hind is three and there is an access tunnel that goes from the top crew position (pilot) to the main cabin for troops where the flight engineer sits.
I dont know if you recall info from last year - VDV was to receive "new flying tanks" to transport troops and being able to support carried troops. Is it going to be Mi-35M?
Being super optimistic there was a promise since about late 1980s of a helicopter called Mi-40 or something which was a troop carrier equivalent to the Mi-28 the same as the Mi-24 evolved from the Mi-8 transport helo.
On the drawings I remember it had unmanned remote operated gun turrets all round the place....
Specialists of the National Center for Helicopter Engineering. M. L. Mil and N. I. Kamova (part of the Russian Helicopters holding company of the Rostec state corporation) patented the appearance of a transport and combat helicopter with a cannon mount for transporting cargo, troops and its fire cover. The new helicopter, according to the document, is a deep modernization of the Mi-24P helicopter. "The claimed group of inventions relates to aviation technology, namely to the design of a helicopter equipped with various types of weapons, a navigation system, an aiming and computing system and night vision equipment, and designed to solve combat missions at any time of the day, transport various cargoes, transport troops, wounded and their fire cover," the text of the patent (available to TASS) for a new helicopter, published by the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, says. It also notes that "the closest in design to the claimed analogue (prototype) is the Mi-24P helicopter."
According to the document, the proposed technical solutions will make it possible to create a helicopter with increased operational reliability, combat effectiveness and survivability due to the use of weapons at any time of the day. The patent says that it is planned to equip the transport-combat helicopter with a twin-engine power plant, a digital flight and navigation system and a weapons system with a surveillance and sighting system with the ability to work at any time of the day and guide guided missiles. At the same time, an airborne defense system must be installed on the machine, and external threat detection sensors are located in gondolas located on the outer pylons of the wing consoles. To be able to counteract portable anti-aircraft missile systems, the installation of a system for ejecting false thermal targets has been added to the helicopter. It is also possible that the pilot's helmet will be equipped with night vision goggles, and the helicopter will be equipped with lighting equipment that is adapted for the use of night vision goggles by applying a special coating to all scales, indicators and visualization elements in the cockpit, and external lighting equipment has additional mode of operation, visible only when using night vision goggles.
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I have mentioned in the past about the North Korean 14.5mm gattling gun, to which the Chinese later copied (odd as it's normally other way round). NK use it on a towed wheeled mount most likely for Defense or for ambushes. While China mounts theirs on large ships to hose down smaller vessels that get too close. Myanmar also mount the NK version on their vessels as well. And recently NK have been installing the14.5mm gattling in a (CIWS) version on its vessels as well as 30mm (CIWS) to replace single barrelled versions.
But it got me thinking I wonder if it would be possible to mount two one on each side on a Mi-24 and if there was a way so that ammo feed could come from within the transport section on the aircraft and feeds out on to the guns this would give it a sh*t ton load of ammo carrying capacity. Obviously the Heli could still carry a rocket pod each side if needed, and keep the 30mm or 12.7 guns incase they run out of ammo on 14.5mm. this configuration would be ideal for hosing down troops under light cover been it a trench with a light roof, light bunker, trucks/logistics convoy, light armour, MRAPs, artillery, MLRS, etc. Even roofs of buildings would offer little protection (depending on type of building) and blasting front of buildings with troops inside would also be effective.
I remember when i was doing training for N.I. they gave us a firepower demo against buildings using various small arms. They used sterling sub machine gun, SLR, Sa-80, LSW, GPMG, Browning.50cal, AKM, Dragunov, and a Barret.50cal. they had a Dshk but they decided not to fire it. As expected the GPMG, Browning were the stars of demo. The Barrett did well on penetration but it was a single round. While GPMG slowly crumbled the wall of the building. However the Browning chewed through a lot faster. Now we already know 14.5mm is around double the penetration power of a .50cal so I would imagine twice as quick at Destroying walls, and coupled with the rate of fire of a gattling this would be very nasty, and area that could be covered as well. Sometimes 23mm/30mm can be overkill, and when spraying an area or pinning an enemy a smaller calibre, that can spit out rounds faster flying over an area can be more beneficial. And with the method of carrying ammo you could carry a serious amount of ammo which could give fire support or hunting a longer duration. And kickback on such a weapon would be far less than the 30mm. I believe there is a place and threat for each weapon. Russia is very lucky that it has such a vast amount of different weapons for different jobs, while the west has a handful. But I don't think it would bad for Russia to invest in a batch of these bad boys.
Posted images before elsewhere. But here it is again.
I wonder if there would be a possibility to use the mi-24 as host for drones, recce and kamikaze drones launched from the helicopter and drone operator in the cargo area, could be used for further a field, due to shorter range needed should make the drones cheaper. The kamikaze drones would pretty be loiter munitions or act as glide bombs effectively. Or maybe a mi-8/17 would be better due to more room in the back.
Regarding the 14.5mm HMG gatling, the core advantage of the round is that it is inherently anti armour by design because it is based on an anti tank or anti armour round.
Against troops the round is not actually a lot more effective than 12.7mm rounds... anything the 12.7mm round will kill the 14.5mm will also kill out to slightly greater ranges but against exposed infantry both rounds are massively over powered.
So much so that a popular 12.7mm round for the Hind gunships four barrelled gatlings was a duplex round where two small projectiles are loaded into each shell case, they are full calibre rounds and usually of slightly different weight, and each round travels at roughly the speed of a rifle calibre machine gun (RCMG) bullet but being large calibre and heavier than any RCMG bullet means improved lethality but also double the rate of fire.
There are really two types of target on the battlefield... soft and hard, against soft targets like cars and trucks and buses 50 cal or 57 cal, both would be very effective, but against armoured vehicles the 57 cal would be more effective.
The problem is that in comparison a 23mm round like the 23 x 115mm cannon on the newest Hinds its AP round is not amazing but its HE round has vastly more HE content than any 57 cal round and also more than most 20mm rounds.
Suffice to say on the Hind the 50 cal was replaced with a fixed 30mm and then a turret mounted 23mm twin barrel gun, and on their BTRs their 57 cal whose main use was shooting up enemy APCs and light fortified bunkers and building structures that small arms wouldn't otherwise do too much to has been replaced with 30 x 165mm guns on the BTR-80A and BTR-82A.
I am not sure there is a role for a 57 calibre gatling... equally their is no role for a 5.45mm gatling either... they tested them but the round is just too light to be useful... the US had a 5.56mm calibre gatling too and it was useless at 800m or further away... and considering its weight and volume it just made more sense to use 7.62 x 51mm and the Soviet 7.62 x 54mmR equivalent... significantly greater effective range and not much heavier.
The PKP was also found to be more effective than the RPK-74 in the sense that while it was heavier and the ammo heavier it was significantly more effective and had a much greater effective range.
I don't think there is any niche a 57 calibre gatling gun would fill, sure it is twice as powerful as a 50 cal but how often is a 50 cal not powerful enough... and in that case should you be using rather more powerful ammo instead?
The 23 x 115mm calibre gatling has already been invented and as the description reveals its 115mm long shell cases are very similar in size to the 14.5 x 114mm round cases. The larger diameter projeciles means it can have a much heavier and rather more effective HE projectile, though its much lower muzzle velocity means its armour penetration performance is rather less impressive its 10,000 plus rounds per minute rate of fire more than make up for that. especially against soft area targets like helicopters often engage.
Regarding drone management I wonder if a better option might just be a civilian airliner with belly mounted datalinks and targeting pods and internal consoles for operators to operate drones for long periods... it could fly around at medium altitude orbiting the battlefield controlling air and ground based drones looking for threats and targets using aircraft mounted sensors as well as the drones themselves to find and attack targets.
A rear door could be used to release and perhaps even recover drones in flight.
It would operate above ground fire in most COIN type situations and would be very useful in Syria etc.
Not really irrelevant, they were changing the armament of the Mi-24 since it first flew and repeatedly changed it to try and get it right.
They started with a single barrel 50 cal HMG on the Hind-A, but the Hind D introduced an early 4 barrel 50 cal gatling.
It was a very capable system but was found to be too light to fire sustained bursts for long periods and had trouble over heating if you perhaps fired the entire ammo store in one burst.
So they developed a later gun with heavier barrels that could fire the entire 1,400 rounds or so in one burst without problems.
Experience showed that it was effective against enemy infantry, though against enemy troops the duplex round was prefered as it doubled the projectiles that were very lethal in their own right.
The core advantage of the turret was excellent field of view and fire angles... the core problem is that when ground forces are firing back with HMGs and even light cannon like the 23mm ZU-23 towed guns you were at a disadvantage.
The 50 cal rounds were effective against most things they hit but even with lighter duplex rounds you needed direct hits to be effective.
What they wanted was a turret mounted cannon and they tried but it didn't work so they took the 30mm twin barrel cannon from the Su-25 and lengthened is barrels and fixed it to the side of the helicopter.
It was very powerful... the 30mm cannon on the Apache is more a grenade launcher in comparison that relies on HE power than velocity.
The recoil was enormous and the main problem with it was job sharing.
With the Hind D the gunner in the front could control the gun and the guided missiles, while the pilot controlled the rockets in rocket pods or cannon pods if fitted.
With the 30mm fixed gun the pilot controlled everything except for the guided anti tank missiles... they needed a turret mounted gun for the gunner to use.
After a lot of work they managed to get the twin barrel 23mm cannon in a chin turret.
The 23mm round it uses is the same as the MiG-21 and MiG-23 and MiG-31 uses and is quite small and low recoil... the design was optimised for rate of fire so the shell case is only the same size as the 14.5mm HMG cartridge. The projectile is the same 23mm heavy projectile the Shilka and the ZU-23 fires, but that gun uses a bigger shell case for higher muzzle velocity to engage air targets.
The Hinds gun uses a 23 x 115mm round while the Shilka uses a 23 x 152mm high velocity round... both have the same HE round with lots of power.
The helicopters gun does not need enormous velocity and for fighters they often fire at air targets from less than 500m anyway so muzzle velocity is not as important as rate of fire... a cluster of projectiles heading out around the point of aim is like a shotgun blast of pellets... the spread is good because between the time your fire and when your projectiles hit the target might manouver so a spread of rounds means a good chance to hit it anyway.
Against most ground targets projectile speed is not very important and for armour penetration ATGMs and rockets are more effective than cannon fire most of the time.
If the 23mm gun of the Hind used the 23 x 152mm shells of the Shilka it would need to be fixed like the 30mm guns were.
The projectile weight is the same but the muzzle velocity is much lower... about 700m/s for the lighter round, but that makes recoil easier to manage but also it means projectiles land in a cluster in short bursts so instead of a few heavy rounds hitting, it is more like larger numbers of smaller rounds which spreads the damage more efficiently anyway.
The 23mm round, which relies on HE payload rather than muzzle velocity would be effective out to distances where the 50 cal and 57 cal rounds would not be so effective because even a near miss on the ground next to a man the 23mm round explodes and showers the area in fragments... 50 cal and 57 cal rounds wont do that.
For the same reason 30mm an 40mm grenade launchers are rather more effective than most modern machine guns.
The Hind D and Hind E and F were widely deployed to Afghanistan but also there were quite a few Hind As too.
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The pilot spoke about the use of the Mi-35 with night vision goggles in Ukraine
MOSCOW, 14 October. /TASS/. The Mi-35 multi-purpose attack helicopter, adapted for use with night vision goggles, allows you to work in stealth mode and destroy targets of the Armed Forces of Ukraine even at night and in any weather. This was told by the deputy commander of the Mi-35 attack helicopter squadron Daniil, a video of which was distributed on Friday by the Russian Defense Ministry.
"We provide assistance to our troops in any weather. We work often. Work begins in the morning, and at night we have to complete tasks. The Mi-35 is equipped with an airborne defense system and is adapted for flying with night vision goggles, since we go out at night both for free hunting and and according to assigned targets, coordinates. This is the advantage that we can work in covert mode at night," said Daniil, deputy commander of the Mi-35 attack helicopter squadron.
As noted in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the crews of helicopters of the army aviation of the Western Military District carry out the tasks of covering, destroying Ukrainian armored vehicles and military infrastructure. The crews perform launches of unguided aircraft missiles from a pitch-up. "This increases the radius of destruction and ensures increased survivability of crews by reducing the flight time in the enemy's air defense detection zone. Flights are carried out at extremely low altitude with enveloping the terrain," the military department noted.