Mi-24 Upgrades: A Lucrative Market Attracts Global Weapons Manufacturers
With a large number of Mi-24 being exported and donated, currently, the market share of providing upgrade packages for Mi-24 is very attractive to many weapons manufacturers around the world.
In modern warfare, the role of attack helicopters is extremely important. Although designed with different combat purposes depending on the military doctrine of each country, attack helicopters have always been considered a highly mobile force, powerful firepower and a “terrible” for the enemy’s infantry and armored forces when it appears.
Present in the militaries of nearly 30 countries around the world, the Mi-24 is considered a successful Soviet attack helicopter design. With a large number of Mi-24 being exported and donated, currently, the market share of providing upgrade packages for Mi-24 is very attractive to many weapons manufacturers around the world.
Participating in this market share is not only the parent company Mil of Russia, but also many famous military manufacturers in the world. Notable among them is the upgrade package to Mi-24 Super Hind standard conducted by ATE of South Africa.
In 2006, ATE reached an agreement with Mil to establish a center dedicated to the maintenance, servicing and upgrading of helicopters. Starting from here, ATE launched and introduced an upgraded version of its Mi-24 helicopter called Mi-24 Super Hind with five different upgrade levels from MK II-V.
The ATE developed an upgrade package for improving their armament, avionics, countermeasures and performance. The Super Hind combines modern South African weapon systems and avionics with existing Mi-24 airframes. Performance is increased by weight reduction.
The gun armament is replaced by a 20mm Vektor F2 autocannon in a new chin turret with external ammunition storage. The chin turret with front mounted sight unit is the most recognizable external upgrade. Anti-tank capability on the Mk III is improved by fitting the long range laser guided ZT-3 Ingwe anti-tank missile. Alternatively the Mk IV is equipped with the Ukranian Baryer anti-tank missile.
On Mi-24 Super Hind MK V: the entire cockpit of the helicopter is redesigned. The seating positions of the two pilots were placed one after another, and the pilot’s position was moved to the front and the gunner to the rear.
In this new design, the Mi-24 is not fully armored like the previous levels, but focuses on protecting the cockpit. This design allows to reduce the weight of the aircraft (1.8 tons) and makes it more flexible. However, aircraft are also more vulnerable because other parts of the aircraft are covered with thinner armor.
The Super Hind Mk III was acquired by Algeria with the first of 34 upgraded aircraft operational in 2001. Azerbaijan acquired the Mk IV upgrade for 10 aircraft, which are designated as Mi-24G.