Mil AH-2 Sabre (Mi-35M) History

AH-2 "Sabre" is the designation used to represent twelve Russian Mi-35 heavy assault gunship helicopters in service with the Brazilian Air Force. The type was born from the Mi-35M4 model of Russian origin and both are directly related to the original Soviet Cold War-era Mi-24 "Hind" series though largely updated for the rigors of the modern battlefield. The AH-2 retains most of the form and function of the Mi-35 series but is fielded with Israeli-originated avionics to better suite Brazilian Air Force requirements. The Mi-35M is based on the Mi-24V which introduced a night-attack capability, revised communications suite, new avionics, reduced weight components, and modernized weapons suite.

The AH-2 seats two crew in a tandem arrangement though, unlike Western attack types, features a passenger cabin under its main rotor. This proves useful in fielding combat-ready infantry along a mobile front while the helicopter supplies its own fire support. Standard armament is 2 x 23mm cannons mounted to a trainable chin turret while optional armament is stationed at multiple underwing hardpoints and support up to 8x Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs), 80mm/120mm rocket pods, and cannon pods as needed. Power is from 2 x Klimov VK-2500 series turboshaft engines of 2,500 horsepower driving a four-blade main rotor and four-blade tail rotor. Speeds reach 310 kmh with ranges out to 460 kilometers.

Onboard systems include the OPS-24N night vision, an InfraRed (IR) jamming system, integrated IR engine suppression system, and Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). Redundancy enhances survivability over contested zones and cockpit armoring protects the crew and vital systems as low altitudes.

In November of 2014, the Brazilian Air Force announced the final three of their twelve-strong order of AH-2 helicopters had been delivered. Brazil is one of the few South American powers to employ the services of a dedicated gunship / attack helicopter. The line will strengthen Brazil's close support capabilities and be used in conjunction with other strike and surveillance aircraft like the Embraer Super Tuncano series.

Russian Helicopters currently produces Mi-35M helicopters from its Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. Its service entry was in 2005. The Mi-35M beat out the Italian A129 "Mongoose" and the European Tiger attack types during competition. These entries lacked the troop-carrying capability inherent in the Mi-35 design.

Mil AH-2 Sabre (Mi-35M) Specification

BASICS

Year:
2010
Status:
Active, Limited Service
Crew:
2

MANUFACTURING

[ 12 Units ]:
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant / Russian Helicopters - Russia

ROLES

- Ground Attack

- Close-Air Support (CAS)

DIMENSIONS

Length:

57.41 ft (17.5 m)

Width/Span:

56.76 ft (17.3 m)

Height:

21.33 ft (6.5 m)

WEIGHTS

Empty Weight:

18,420 lb (8,355 kg)

MTOW:

25,353 lb (11,500 kg)

(Diff: +6,934lb)

POWER

2 x Klimov TV3-117VMA OR VK-2500 turboshaft engines developing 2,500 horsepower each driving five-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.

PERFORMANCE

Maximum Speed:

193 mph (310 kph; 167 kts)

Service Ceiling:

17,717 feet (5,400 m; 3.36 miles)

Maximum Range:

280 miles (450 km; 243 nm)

ARMAMENT

STANDARD:

1 x 23mm Twin-barreled gun in chin turret.

OPTIONAL:

Up to 8 x Air-to-Surface / Anti-Tank missiles OR 4 x 80mm / 122mm rocket pods / cannon pods / gun pods across four underwing hardpoints.

VARIANTS

AH-2 "Sabre" - Base series designation based on the Mil Mi-35M production model; Israeli avionics fit.

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