Russia is supplying Iraq with at least 10 new attack helicopters via a multi-billion dollar contract.
Under the agreement's terms, Iraq is getting Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunter helicopter gunships, along with associated weapons, support equipment and aircrew/support crew training services. The contract was originally signed in 2012 but only now have details of it been confirmed.
The Mi-28 helicopter design was unveiled in 1982 but, two years later, it lost out to the Kamov Ka-50 in Russian Air Force service. Then, an upgraded model was launched but, in the early 1990s, the programme was cancelled, only to be resurrected in 1995. Finally, the Mi-28N model joined the Russian Army in 2006.
Mi-28N Attack Helicopter
An all-weather capable helicopter able to operate by day or night, the Mi-28N attack helicopter has a top speed of 199 miles per hour and a range of 270 miles.
It can fly at altitudes of up to 19,000 feet and has a rate of climb of 2,677 feet a minute, while its armament comprises of a nose-mounted 30mm cannon and various rockets, bombs and missiles, including Ataka-V anti-tank missiles and S-8 or S-13 rockets.
Iraqi Mi-28NE Contract
The Iraqi Air Force is being rebuilt following on from the 2003 Invasion. A whole array of new aircraft and helicopters are thus set to be delivered in months ahead including Lockheed Martin F-16s (in 2014) and Boeing AH-64 Apaches (from September 2013 onwards).
Already supplied and in service are nine C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft, 24 Beechcraft King Air 350 VIP transports and 12 RQ11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicles.
10 is the minimum number of Mi-28NE (export models) destined for the Iraqi Air Force: according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, as many as 40 could be eventually supplied. The Iraqi Mi-28NE contract's total value is $4.3 billion.