Russia launches production of new military helicopter

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MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - First-stage flight testing of next-generation attack helicopters for the Russian Air Force has been completed and the choppers will soon be in service, an official said Thursday.

Head of the Air Force press service Alexander Drobyshevsky said that the Mi-28N Night Hunter had completed its first test flights, and the Rostov Helicopter Plant (Rosvertol) will launch full-scale production in the immediate future.

The company will initially produce 20 Mi-28Ns under a three-year contract with the Air Force, the official said.

According to Drobyshevsky, a serial model of the Mi-28N Night Hunter conducted its first flight in late December and has made 140 flights since then.

The helicopter is primarily designed to locate and destroy enemy armored vehicles, personnel, small surface ships, low-speed air targets and fortifications and to lay mine fields day or night in adverse weather conditions.

High reliability and powerful weaponry make the chopper competitive on global aircraft markets, the Rosvertol press service said. Military experts said helicopter's effectiveness was four to five times higher than of any existing helicopters of its type.

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