Russia's latest military helicopter model will include active defense systems to deflect all existing heat-seeking missiles and circular-view radar, according to Russia state media reports. The upgraded Mi-28H “Night Hunter” helicopter gunship "will be virtually invulnerable to enemy fire," Sputnik News reported Friday.
The model will look similar to its predecessor, but the so-called “Super Hunter” stands out in that it will feature advanced active defense systems, including a circular-view radar previously installed on export models only. A laser system will fend off all existing heat-seeking missiles. The aircraft's maximum speed of 340 kilometers per hour will increase by 10 percent.
The helicopter is designed to attack armored vehicles and low-speed air targets. Russia has in the past sent its fierce military helicopters to its allies to bolster relations. Most recently, Iraq received 15 Night Hunter military helicopters to use in anti-terrorist operations under a $4.2 billion arms deal.
“These machines have improved maneuverability and striking precision when striking. They are equipped with different kinds of missiles and a mobile gun,” Iraqi defense officials said in a statement at the time. “They have played an important role in recent campaigns to liberate different cities, in particular Fallujah and Ramadi.”
Russia has been bolstering its defense budget amid growing tensions with NATO and military interventions in Ukraine and Syria. The Kremlin announced in December it would purchase 200 planes and helicopters, as well as up to 30 ships and submarines every year through 2021 to modernize its armed forces.
The Russian economy slipped by 3.7 percent last year and is expected to fall by another 1 percent this year. Russia's budget deficit was projected to reach more than $21 billion in 2016 because of tanking oil prices and Western sanctions over conflict in Ukraine carried out by pro-Russian separatists.