The Soviet helicopter industry began with the introduction of the Mil Mi-1, a simple, single engine development which appeared in 1950 and was followed in production by 2,594 examples into 1965. The next logical step in its development was the Mil Mi-2 which emerged from PZL-Swidnik of Poland in 1965. A prototype achieved first-flight in 1961 and, from there, 5,497 examples followed. It became known to NATO as "Hoplite".
The Mi-2 was larger than its predecessor and fitted two engines over its cabin. It relied on a three-point, fixed, wheeled undercarriage and could be operated by a single crewman. The cabin provided seating for up to eight passengers and could relatively easily be converted to the cargo transport role. Such was the versatility of this product that some air services of the world armed the type and modified it for other roles such as Search and Rescue (SAR).
The major shift on the Mi-2's design from the preceding Mi-1 was the switch from a radial engine to a turbine which was in line with developments witnessed in the West. This accordingly spurred work on a new Soviet turbine for which to use in an equally-new helicopter design, the engine designated GTD-350 and developed by one S.P. Isotov. The end-result was a more powerful rotary-wing platform which increased performance considerably and allowed a single airframe to undertake multiple roles - and compete with Western developments. The prototype went airborne on September 22nd, 1961 as the "V-2" and armaments trials were eventually had through the "V-2V" prototype that followed.
Early production forms were the Mi-2 "Platan", a minelaying platform, the Mi-2A and the upgraded Mi-2B (the latter intended for the export market). The Mi-2Ch "Chekla" became a smokescreener / chemical reconnaissance model and the Mi-2D "Przetacznik" an airborne command post with applicable equipment installed. The Mi-2FM was developed for surveying and the Mi-2P was used in the commercial passenger / cargo hauling roles. The Mi-2R became a mainstay in agriculture and the Mi-2RL was outfitted for the rescue / MEDEVAC role. Its maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) counterpart was the Mi-2RM. The Mi-2Ro was used in the reconnaissance role and a reconnaissance trainer became the UMi-2Ro.
The Mi-2RS "Padalec" was specifically developed for the chemical / biohazard reconnaissance role and the Mi-2S was an air ambulance. The Mi-2Sz and Mi-2U marks featured a dual-control scheme for training.
Mi-2T was modified to carry cargo and could haul up to 1,545lb of internal loads and 1,765lb of externally-slung loads. Performance included a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour, a range of 275 miles and a service ceiling of 13,125 feet. Rate-of-climb reached 885 feet-per-minute.
The Mi-2US was an armed version sporting a 23mm NS-23 automatic cannon in a fixed, forward-firing mount. it also carried up to 4 x 7.62mm PKT machine guns and could install another PK machine gun at the cabin door.
The Mi-2URP "Salamandra" was outfitted for the anti-tank role with the 23mm NS-23 autocannon and 4 x AT-3 "Sagger" Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs). The Mi-2URN "Zmija" became an armed reconnaissance model with 23mm NS-23 autocannon and 2 x 16-shot S-5 unguided rocket pods. Additional 7.62mm machine guns could also be installed as needed. The Mi-2URP-G "Gniewosz" mounted 4 x Strela-2 Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs).
The Mi-2 "Plus" was an upgraded Mi-2 model featuring GTD-350W2 series engines. it also incorporated a modernized avionics suite and composite main rotor blades. The Mi-2MSB was a modernized form and passenger hauler for the civilian market. The Mi-2MSB-V was another modernized form, though military in nature, and intended for the Ukrainian Air Force.
Operators of the Mi-2 ranged from Algeria and Armenia to the Ukraine and Yugoslavia - many were former Soviet allied nations and states. While many operators have given up on the type, many continue its use including the modern North Korean Air Force.
- Ground Attack
- Close-Air Support (CAS)
- Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
- Commercial Market
- VIP Transport
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- Special Forces
37.40 ft (11.4 m)
47.57 ft (14.5 m)
12.30 ft (3.75 m)
5,236 lb (2,375 kg)
7,826 lb (3,550 kg)
124 mph (200 kph; 108 kts)
13,123 feet (4,000 m; 2.49 miles)
273 miles (440 km; 238 nm)
885 ft/min (270 m/min)
Typically none though some dedicated models outfitted with armament for use as gunships and support aircraft. In this case the aircraft was seen with rocket pods, 23mm automatic cannons, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) installed.
Mi-2 ("Hoplite") - Base Series Designation
V-2 - Prototype
V-2V - Armaments prototype
Mi-2 "Platan" - Minelayer platform
Mi-2A - Original production model
Mi-2B - Upgraded model for export market.
Mi-2Ch "Chekla" - Smokecreening platform and chemical reconnaissance model.
Mi-2D "Przetacznik" - Aerial Command Post Aircraft
Mi-2FM - Survey industry version
Mi-2P - Passenger / Cargo hauler
Mi-2R Agricultural industry variant
Mi-2RL - Overland Search and Rescue (SAR) platform; MEDEVAC model.
Mi-2RM - Maritime SAR model
Mi-2Ro - Dedicated reconnaissance mount
UMi-2Ro - Reconnaissance trainer model
Mi-2RS "Padalec" - Chemical / biohazard recon model.
Mi-2S - MEDEVAC platform
Mi-2Sz - Dual-control trainer for Mi-2S
Mi-2T - Utility transport model
Mi-2U - Dual-control trainer model
Mi-2US - Armed variant with 23mm cannon and 4 x 7.62mm machine gun pods.
Mi-2URN "Zmija" - Armed reconnaissance model; 23mm autocannon and 2 x 16-shot rocket pods.
Mi-2URP "Salamandra" - Anti-tank platform; 1 x 23mm autocannon and 4 x Anti-tank guided missiles fitted.
Mi-2URP-G "Gniewosz" - Mi-2URP model with support for 4 x AA missiles.
Mi-2 "Plus" - Modernized Mi-2; fitted with composite blades, new avionics suite and GTD-350W2 series engines.
Mi-3 - Proposed, ultimately abandoned successor.
Mi-2MSB - Modernized civilian market model
Mi-2MSB-V - Modernized Ukrainian military model