MOSCOW, March 21 (UPI) -- Russia's Rostvertol has started mass production of Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters with dual controls.
According to Rostec, the Russian state corporation that promotes exports, the dual-control configuration enables the helicopter to perform as a training platform as well as a combat aircraft and is the result of a modernization program.
A prototype Mi-28NE with dual controls was first produced in 2014. State joint tests were completed at the end of last year.
"The unique capabilities of the new combat helicopter create excellent prospects for its marketing both in Russia and abroad," said Alexander Mikheev, the director general of Russian Helicopters, parent company of Rostvertol. "At the moment two contracts for the supply of the modernized Mi-28NE abroad have been signed."
Like its predecessor, the Mi-28NE with dual controls is a new-generation high-performance all-weather attack helicopter. It is armed with guided and unguided missiles and a 30mm gun.
All the helicopter's vital systems and units are duplicated from its predecessor. The crew cabin provides protection against armor-piercing bullets and projectiles of up to 20mm in caliber, composite materal blades are resistant to combat damage and the fuel system design excludes explosion or ignition of fuel, Rostec said.