Photo credit: Airliners.net

With the same height as a three story building, the Mi-26T proudly holds the titles of the largest helicopter in the world and the helicopter heavy-lift world champion. Also known as Halo, it is powered by two 11,000 hp turboshaft engines which allow it to transport more than 20,000 kg. These helicopters can carry 90 combat ready troops or comfortably seat 63 civilians, but they are also famous for lifting a Tupolev Tu-134 airliner, a frozen 23,000 year old mammoth, and even other helicopters.

Mi-26T lifts Tupolev Tu-134. Photo credit: Air&Space

Now, the Mi-26T has been modernized into the Mi-26T2. This renovation was lead by Mil Moscow Helicopter plant, a division of Russian Helicopters, and the helicopter was launched at the beginning of 2015. After a short period for flight tests, the helicopter went into series production in May 22, 2015. This new plane is equipped with two D-136-2 turbo-shaft gas turbine engines developed by Ivchenko-Progress and manufactured by Motor Sich, which grant it a maximum power rating of 11,650 hp and allow it generate up to 12,500 hp of emergency power.

This helicopter is equipped with a BREO-26 digital avionics suite, which improves stability and control allowing it to fly at any time, over any terrain, and under any weather conditions. Its general operating range if of approximately 800 km and, if fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks, can even reach a 1,905 km range. The standard variant of this helicopter’s cabin is 12.1 m long, 3.29 m wide and 3.17 m high but its total length is 40 m, with a 32 m rotor diameter, a height of 8.1 m, and a circular area of 789 m2. The Mi-26T2 will have a cruise velocity of 255 km/h and it will be able to reach a maximum velocity of 295 km/h. It will also have a maximum cargo capacity of 20,000 kg, the same as its predecessor.

For the defense sector, this helicopter will be able to carry 82 fully-equipped troops as well as a large range of combat vehicles. Furthermore, it can be equipped for emergency response to be used as an ambulance, and used to carry up to 60 people on stretchers, or a fire fighter aircraft. Additionally it can be used for fuel delivery or in construction and installation operations. Andrey Shibito, CEO of Russian Helicopters, claims that this new helicopter has unequalled characteristics and will be in high demand, both in Russia and abroad.

Sources: Business Insider, RT News, and Air & Space Magazine.

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