March 16, 2007: Russia is developing a replacement
for its 40 year old Mi-8 (export versions are called Mi7) transport helicopter.
The new helicopter is the Ka-62. The Mi8 is about twice the size and weight of
the American UH-1, but only hauls about 50 percent more cargo (about 2.6 tons).
However, the Mi-8 had a larger interior, and can carry 24 troops, versus a
dozen in the UH-1. The UH-1 was replaced by the UH-60 in the 1980s, while the
Mi-8 just kept adding better engines and electronics to the basic Mi-8 frame.
But the UH-60, while weighing as much as the UH-1 (4.8 tons), could carry as
much as the 12 ton Mi-8. But the Mi-8 costs about half as much as a UH-60, and
the larger interior is popular with many users. Nearly 3,000 Mi17s have been
The 6.5 ton Ka-62 can carry 2.7 tons. This can
include 14 passengers (or ten fully equipped infantry). Like the Mi8, the Ka-62
can also be equipped with weapons. The Ka-62 will be easier to maintain, safer
to operate and more reliable than the Mi-8. First flight of the Ka-62 will take
place next year.