The Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport is planning to begin foreign deliveries of Mil Mi-28NE attack helicopters this year. Konstantin Biryulin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, announced shortly before HeliRussia 2014 that the first export batch of 36 aircraft will be delivered to the Iraqi Air Force under a 2012 contract. Rosoboronexport has previously sold six Mi-35 gunships to this country.
The Mi-28N was developed as the main attack helicopter of the Russian Air Force. It is heavily armed and capable of providing close air support to ground troops in any weather, day and night, effectively destroying enemy personnel, armoured vehicles, fortifications and low-speed aerial targets. The cockpit and critical components are armored, the critical systems are redundant, and there is a self-defense system, allowing the helicopter to operate under heavy jamming and severe enemy fire. Series production began in 2005; several dozen Mi-28Ns have since been delivered to the Russian military. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu in late 2013 officially added the Mi-28N to the Air Force armory.
Russia remains a major helicopter exporter. Rosoboronexport last year delivered more than 140 Mi-17 military transports and Mi-35M gunships to foreign customers, or 50% more than the year before. Deliveries were made to China, Ghana, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the USA, as well as to Kazakhstan and other CIS countries. Rosoboronexport is planning to keep up the rate of deliveries in 2014.
"There are currently almost no countries left in the world that have no helicopter fleets of their own," says Vladislav Kuzmichev, deputy head of Rosoboronexport’s helicopter exports department, who is leading the corporation’s delegation at HeliRussia 2014. "However, few countries are capable of developing and building advanced helicopters. Russia is among the leaders in this respect. This is why the armed forces of over 90 countries, in all continents, operate Russian helicopters."