Although not without problems, the decision to integrate the missiles expanded the anti-tank capabilities of the Russian tactical helicopter aviation.
Russian forces have begun deploying Mi-28NM attack helicopters equipped with Vikhr anti-tank guided missiles. The missile has a range of 10 km and was recently integrated into the helicopter arsenal.
This causes strange things to happen: during launch, the screens flash caution signals as if the helicopter was illuminated by enemy radar or targeted by an anti-aircraft missile. However, it seems that the Mi-28NM crews are used to this problem, which has apparently become commonplace.
The fact that the Russians have integrated Vikhr anti-tank missiles into helicopters and use them in battles against the Ukrainian Armed Forces is symptomatic.
Previously, Mi-28NM helicopters could only deploy unguided LMUR rockets – with a wide attack range of 15 kilometers, but equipped with a HE-FRAG warhead, not very suitable for armor – or anti-tank missiles of the Ataka family with a limited range. Five kilometers (which implies that they risk entering the airspace controlled by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses). Other modifications of the Mi-28 can only use Ataka missiles.
The Russians first mentioned plans to adapt Vikhr missiles so that Mi-28NMs could launch them in August 2023. Pilots complained that they had not received updated cockpit equipment; for example, they lacked the GOES-451 targeting pod, which limits the effectiveness of the Vikhr missiles on the Mi-28.
However, even in this limited configuration, the integration of the Vikhr was a rational way to expand the helicopter’s capabilities. Even with some bugs and problems, it still adds another weapon to the arsenal of its Mi-28NM. However, so far, there are only a dozen helicopters of this type in the Russian army.
Earlier, it was reported that more than 20 Russian Ka-52 and Mi-8 helicopters had fled the Berdiansk air base following an ATACMS missile attack by Ukrainian forces. Presumably, they reappeared in Taganrog, either seeking a safer location, preparing to redeploy to other areas of military operations, or both.