19 September 1969: After four days of testing in a tethered hover, Mil Design Bureau test pilot German V. Alferov makes the first free flight of the prototype Mi-24 attack helicopter, V-24.
Designed by a team led by Chief Project Engineer V.A. Kuznetsov, the Mi-24 used the drive train of the Mil Mi-8 Hip-B/C transport and Mi-14 Haze-A anti-submarine helicopters. It had a five-blade main rotor and a three-blade tail rotor and was equipped with retractable tricycle landing gear.
The Mi-24 (named “Hind” by NATO forces) was operated by a pilot and a weapons system operator seated in tandem configuration, with the pilot slightly offset to the left. The gunner is in the forward position. It differed from the American Bell AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter in that it could carry 8 troops or 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) of cargo in a center fuselage compartment.
The entire fuselage is tilted 2°30′ (and thus, the transmission, mast and main rotor) to the right to counteract the rotor system’s translating tendency, and helps with high-speed stability.
The Mi-24 is 57 feet, 4 inches (17.5 meters) long, 21 feet 3 inches (6.5 meters) high, with a main rotor diameter of 56 feet, 7 inches (17.3 meters). The tail rotor diameter is 12 feet, 7 inches (3.84 meters). The helicopter’s empty weight is 18,740 pounds (8,500 kilograms) and loaded weight is 24,000 pounds (11,000 kilograms).
In early versions, the tail rotor was mounted on the right side, and rotated counter-clockwise as seen from the left. (The advancing blade is above.) Because of poor handling conditions, the tail rotor was changed to the left side, with the advancing blade below the hub.
Power is supplied by two Isotov TV3-117 turboshaft engines rated at 1,700 shaft horsepower, or 2,200 horsepower for takeoff or one emergency operation.
The Mi-24 has a maximum speed of 208 miles per hour (335 kilometers per hour) and range of 280 miles (450 kilometers). The service ceiling is 14,765 feet (4,500 meters).
Armament consists of a turret-mounted GSh-23 23mm cannon with 450 rounds of ammunition. Air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles are carried on pylons mounted under the helicopter’s stub wings.
More than 5,200 Mi-24 attack helicopters have been built, many of them exported. It is estimated that the cost of an individual helicopter is $32,500,000.