Russia to Use Syrian Combat Experience in Upgrading Helicopter Blades

Russia will use its aerial combat experience in Syria to replace classic metal helicopter rotor blades with ones made from composite materials.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Mi-28NM attack helicopter, a recent upgraded version of the Mi-28N "Night Hunter" vehicle, became the first helicopter to receive composite blades and will be supplied to the Russian army by 2018, Russia's Aerospace Forces Commander Viktor Bondarev told the Izvestia newspaper.

"Using helicopters in a desert area with a dusty atmosphere, where sandstorms are created by takeoffs and landings taking place on unequipped pads, is always accompanied by increased attrition to the blades…Dust is an abrasive material. This has been and will be a problem that cannot be resolved completely, but can be reduced, including by the use of modern composite blades," the Russian Helicopters company, which is a part of the Rostec State Corporation, told the newspaper.

The new blades, designed at the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, have an increased fatigue strength, service life and better combat characteristics, according to the company.

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Produced from carbon fibers, the composite blades are manufactured using a single mold and have already been used in the production of multirole Mi-38 and Mi-35M attack helicopters, the company added, noting that the use of anti-abrasive coating is also being researched.

On September 30, 2015, Moscow began its anti-terror campaign in Syria on Damascus' request, during which the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted precision airstrikes against the targets of Daesh, outlawed in many countries, including Russia.

In mid-March, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to start withdrawing most of Russia's military contingent from Syria after accomplishing its objective, while leaving a minor residual force.

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