Polish Success with the Multi-Purpose Mil Mi-2 Helicopter

The Mil Mi-2, also known as the PZL Mi-2, was a rather successful design of Soviet designers.

As a small, three-rotor blade multirole helicopter, thanks to its versatility operators around the world can even arm or modify it for other roles such as Search and Rescue. NATO reporting name Hoplite, Mi-2 was designed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant in the early 1960s and manufactured exclusively by PZL of Poland.

The Mi-2 was first introduced into the Soviet Air Force in 1965. It is used by mainly former Soviet and Eastern Bloc countries, although it was also purchased by Mexico and Myanmar armed forces. The war in Ukraine saw the success of Soviet-era weapons. According to reports Ukraine has about 20 Mi-2s, of which 10 have been repaired and upgraded to the Mi-2MSB standard, although one was lost in an accident in March 2017. In June 2022, Slovakia donated one helicopter in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Latvia donated 2 units to Ukraine in August 2022.

Mi-2 is in fact a further development of its predecessor Mi-1, with larger dimensions and equipped with two engines instead of a single. The spacious cabin offers seating for up to eight passengers and can be easily converted into a cargo role or modified to another. The Mi-2 fuselage was extensively altered from its predecessor, with the engines mounted overhead.

The twin shaft-turbine engines used in the Mi-2 develop 40% more power than the Mi-1’s piston engines, for barely half the engine weight, with the result that the payload was more than doubled. Mi-2 is powered by two PZL GTD-350P turboshaft engines, with 400 hp each. The helicopter can reach a maximum speed of up to 200 km/h, range is 440 km, service ceiling is 4,000 m, Rate of climb is 4.5 m/s. It has an empty weight of 2.3 tons, while the maximum take-off weight is 3.7 tons.

The prototype built by Mil flew for the first time in the Soviet Union on September 22, 1961, after initial development, the project was transferred to Poland in 1964. PZL-Świdnik produced a total of 5,497 helicopters, about a third for military users. The factory also developed fiberglass rotor blades, and developed the wide-body Mi-2M seating 10 passengers instead of eight.

In Poland, several specialized military variants were also developed in early 1970s for support or training roles, with 23 mm autocannon, machine guns and/or two 57 mm rocket pods, four 9K11 Malyutka anti-tank missiles or Strela-2 AA missiles. Most of the armed Mi-2 variants were used by Poland. Some were also used by the former East Germany, with 7.62 mm machine gun and 57 mm unguided rocket armament only.

Currently Poland is planning to replace the Mi-2 fleet. At the moment we know that the helicopter known as Perkoz is to be able to transport at least 5 fully-equipped troops or up to 1,000 kilograms of cargo in the cabin space. Warsaw is continuing to modernise its armed forces in response to the growing threat from Russia.

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