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    Beauty in the design of weapons.

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    Daniel_Admassu

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    Post  Daniel_Admassu Sun May 30, 2021 7:08 am

    I just noticed that the posts moved to this thread. It has been a while since I checked the Mi-28 topic. If indeed people are waiting for me to post the first entry here, well you can now.

    This all started when I criticized the exterior aesthetic of the Havoc and the Mi-8 series. In fact it is mostly helicopters in the Russian arsenal I have issues with. I have seen both the early design and recent iteration of the Mi-8 up close, including an early model Hind that GarryB mentioned. Those are not operational now but I guess they correctly reflect the era they were from. My country used to side with the communist block a while back and purchased a lot of stuff from the USSR.

    The issue with the Hip is not just exterior shape but overall craftsmanship in trimming. Mind you, I am not talking about consumer level appeal but rather a design that reveals the type of assembly process it went through, what we call industrial aesthetic. In terms of exterior form as well, this concept calls for a sleek aerodynamic shape for something that flies. This all comes after function of course. My point was that the Russians seem not to care enough to explore what forms function allows. This all might have been redundant in the old world order where their clients buy everything they make and no matter how thoughtful their designs are, the other block will not touch any of it.

    I think we can all agree that the USSR lagged heavily in industrial automation and computing and it shows clearly in the industrial design aesthetic I am talking about. You can only do so many shapes and forms with manual operation. In fact this is why, despite having a vast industry, Russian light helicopters aren't still successful commercially. Light corporate helicopters are what comes close to consumer products in the aviation industry and customers are clearly not interested if it lacks some aesthetic appeal. I know they are now trying with the Ka-60 and Ansat. Those are, in my opinion, a much better effort. We will see where this goes.
    lancelot
    lancelot

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    Post  lancelot Sun May 30, 2021 11:20 am

    The Mi-28 is a utilitarian design. The form follows the function.
    It has a huge block like super structure because it is ballistically reinforced.
    I agree they still could have make it look better though. The Ka-50 had to solve the same issues but is a lot less ugly.
    lyle6
    lyle6

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    Post  lyle6 Mon May 31, 2021 5:32 am

    lancelot wrote:
    It has a huge block like super structure because it is ballistically reinforced.

    Exactly. The lines for the Mi-28 seem "wrong" because they are not just designed strictly to conform to aerodynamics, but to deflect and shatter incoming projectiles. If my car had to survive a shower of bullets as part of its specs, it would have probably looked like that cybertruck trash too.
    TMA1
    TMA1

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    Post  TMA1 Mon May 31, 2021 6:00 am

    Nice. Hat we're your overall impressions of the mi 8? Frankly the reputation seems all over the place. They are rugged and durable and easier to repair. They crash a lot and are buggy. I have heard and read a thousand opinions on it but that might be because there are thousands of them. I love the things. I was fascinated by the fact that Afghanistanis still fly em and prefer them to the Blackhawk. There are many reasons to this obviously which I think speaks good and bad for mi-8/17 and Blackhawk both.

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    kvs
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    Post  kvs Mon May 31, 2021 6:40 am

    TMA1 wrote:Nice. Hat we're your overall impressions of the mi 8? Frankly the reputation seems all over the place. They are rugged and durable and easier to repair. They crash a lot and are buggy. I have heard and read a thousand opinions on it but that might be because there are thousands of them. I love the things. I was fascinated by the fact that Afghanistanis still fly em and prefer them to the Blackhawk. There are many reasons to this obviously which I think speaks good and bad for mi-8/17 and Blackhawk both.

    World wide distribution will result in a "high" crash rate perception and combine that with poor maintenance and abuse. If western equipment was
    treated this way it would disappear after a few years. The whole "inferior" Soviet/Russian tech is inane rubbish. Like the bitching about
    vacuum tubes in some Soviet jets. The USSR was making transistors during the 1960s when the west was. It had ICs in the 1970s and
    1980s just like the west. Deliberate design based on physics is not inferiority. The common theme with Soviet military equipment, that has
    carried over into Russian products, is over-engineering. Not profit driven corner cutting and gratuitous minimization and marginal engineering
    inspired by retarded accountants who think that saving half cents will add up to greater glory. I see this shitty western design philosophy
    rendered via offshored sweatshop production in consumer products on a daily basis. It clearly infects western military production in spite
    of the gross overpricing.

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    Daniel_Admassu

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    Post  Daniel_Admassu Mon May 31, 2021 8:12 am

    The  Mi-8 is also a pretty dependable workhorse in the Ethiopian Air Force, despite not having any substantial number of them (probably 20 or so). As recently as a few months back, they have added more of the Mi-17 variants. Not sure what configuration they are in. Overall only a number of accidents, mostly combat related during the civil war. Otherwise the Airforce training and maintenance academy keeps one of the best teams for the job. At least used to. My uncle used to serve as a reconnaissance officer aboard an Antonov aircraft.

    The high numbers worldwide would inevitably mean higher number of incidents but not necessarily higher rates. That judgment requires an unbiased study that considers human, situational, environmental and technical factors. But overall I have to say good engineering practice that results in optimal performance and reliability also calls for a thorough and methodical manufacturing process that inevitably produces a good industrial aesthetic.

    I have often followed forum threads concerning aircraft such as Su-57 and noticed that some of its detractors point out the panel seam gaps as indicator of inferior manufacturing. I have never seen even a flanker up close and don't even have much insight into radar reflection impacts of such seams. But I can safely say such features are typical of other Soviet products which can only come from less precision in manufacturing or assembly. Even equipment (vehicles, machinery) that I have seen from East Germany produced during the same period had far better polished finish. And those pieces of equipment are regarded highly by their operators to this day. My point is a good engineering practice most of the time also results in better aesthetic as a byproduct if not as a deliberate feature. And customers anywhere, military or otherwise, look for such features as an indicator of the technical robustness inside.

    I know we can always argue about the worldwide sales record of Soviet/Russian military gear as proof. I am not saying Russian gear is in any way less reliable or underperforming, which it is not. But really, what choice does the rest of the world has? Either it was the mostly US expensive western equipment that came with a lot of strings or the cheaper Russian equipment with none of said strings. So African and Asian states made the logical choice. When and if the world gets its next worthy competitor, trust me, Russia will be forced to improve things in this area. China is now making headway to become such a competition by copying western stuff and offering it cheap. The problem with Chinese stuff is that it is still not reliable enough. Ethiopia had tried importing military trucks at some point from China thinking it would further improve political relations. The items in question became maintenance nightmares for logistics departments both in the army and what we call the federal police. Nevertheless Chinese gear is slowly encroaching on traditional Russian turf. So is Turkish stuff. What these have in common is trying to compensate for what they lack in performance with presentation, some of which addresses the industrial aesthetic that I am arguing for here.

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