Israel Aerospace Industries Mi-8MTV "Mission Plus" - Soviet-Israeli helicopter, take two.

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Israel Aerospace Industries Mi-8MTV “Mission Plus” ( AKA. “Peak 17” )

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- Basic Description -

IAI “Mission Plus” (also formerly known as IAI “Peak 17”) - is a technical demonstrator based on the Soviet Mi-8MTV for the Israeli Mi-8/17 helicopter modernization program produced by IAI, in which the Elta, Mata and Tamam divisions were involved . The helicopter modernization package includes modular avionics systems with a “glass cockpit” concept, a day-night sight with TV and FLIR, an electronic warfare suite and an improved weapons package using subsystems based on previous developments of IAI Mission 24 and Ka-50-2 that was made in parthnership with Kamov’s bureau in tender to equip the Turkish Air Force with a new combat helicopter.


Now as we understand what the upgrade is, lets go over each component of it:

  1. “Glass Cockpit”

The “Glass Cockpit” includes night vision goggles-compatible multifunction displays, a digital map which allows mission data to updated in-flight and a helmet-mounted display. Essentially, this gives the helicopter real night-time combat capability, improved navigation and combat awareness amidst the battlefield.

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  1. Electronic Warfare Suite

The helicopter is equipped with the IAI Elta ELM-2160 Flight Guard system, which is a MAWS (Missile Approach Warning System). It automatically detects incoming threats and fires flares to protect the helicopter from threats such as IR-guided MANPADS from multiple directions.

The system on the IAI Mission Plus has 6 detection sensors, 4 of which are located at the front (two per each side) on the “cheeks”, and two at the rear, mounted on the rear landing gear. And 4 blocks (2 per side) of countermeasures each with 60 flares. Which in total makes it have 240 flares.

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  1. A day-night sight with TV and FLIR

It the place of the middle glass panel a 30 kg HMOSP optronic ball on the turret is installed. It incorporates both a day/night TV camera, a FLIR, an automatic targeting system, laser rangefinder, designator and pointer, all coupled with a new mission computer. The HMOSP (Helicopter Multi-mission Optronic Stabilized Payload) is implemented by a simple multifunction screen in the cockpit.

The HMOSP can incorporate two types of FLIR: a scanning array 4 x 480 Cadmium-mercury-telluride detectors, operating in the low-wavelength band, and a 320x 240- element indium-antimony focal plane array functioning at the middle wavelengths.

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  1. Improved weapons package

Mission Plus can carry both Western and Soviet-style guided missiles. However, Soviet armaments require some additional work to integrate into systems, which was done in the Mission 24 package rather than in this one. Nevertheless the helicopter is fully integrated with Israeli-made weaponary, as it was demonstrated at exhibitions and live fire tests. It can carry Rafael’s Spike-ER and IAI’s LAHAT missiles.

It is unknown whether other types of unguided weapons can be installed besides the UB-16-57 missile pods with which it was seen in India in 2001. It could also possibly be equipped with Hydra 70 missiles, as it was previously demonstrated on the Israeli Mi-24 upgrade.

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- History -

The IAI Mission Plus program continues the legacy of a similar helicopter upgrade from the past called Mission 24, which began in the mid-90s and was mainly focused on the Mi-24/35/25. Although it was not as big of a success worldwide as expected, it still achieved success in India. IAI had signed a US$20 million contract with the Indian Air Force to upgrade 25 helicopters with upgrade kits in 1998. According to some reports, it was planned to upgrade up to 40 helicopters.

Spoiler

IAI Mission 24
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Indian army had about 120 Mi-8/17 helicopters in service, that also needed modernization and IAI understood that very well. The Indian market needed more cost-effective and faster retrofit kits that would make old airfraimes just as new. Therefore, sometime in the 2000s, IAI bought the Mi-8MTV from Russia and modernized it, taking into account the experience of the previous Mission 24 program. The helicopter was modified with state of the art technologies IAI had to offer, such as new avionics, otronics, countermeasures, MAWS and capbility to carry guided weaponory of western and russian origin.

By February 2001, the demonstrator was ready and was shown for the first time to Indian officials at the Aero India air show in Bangalore.

Spoiler

India - 2001
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The upgraded helicopter appeared under the serial number IAI817, painted black, with the name IAI “Peak 17”, which is a little misleading, since according to the Russian registry it is an Mi-8 helicopter. The misleading name likely led many people in the future to confuse it with the export version - Mi-17, as many pictures of it on the web are mislabeled so.

The helicopter later appeared in June 2001 at an air show at Paris-Le Bourget airport. The most interesting thing about this demonstration was the appearence of Spike-ER pylons for one and only time on this helicopter.

Spoiler

Paris-Le Bourget 2001
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It was later equipped with the new LAHAT missiles and was used as one of the airborne platforms for testing said missiles. Some time later, the helicopter was repainted in a more colorful design and rebranded as “Mission Plus”.

Once again the helicopter appeared in June 2007 at Le Bourget. And according to Yochai Mossi from AirTeamImages, it was soon put into storage, just weeks after the airshow. The helicopter sits to this day on the IAI ramp at Ben Gurion Airport, just like its father IAI Mission 24 and many other forgotten IAI projects.

Spoiler

Paris-Le Bourget 2007
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- Specifications -

  • General

Origin - Soviet Union / Israel

Type - Multirole helicopter

Crew - 3 + paratroopers

  • Dimensions

Length - 18.42 m

Width - 2.5 m (without rotor blade)

Height - 5.34 m

Empty weight - 7,381 t (a bit heavier due to modifications, exact weight unknown)

Normal take-off weight - 11,100 t

Max take-off weight - 13,000 t

  • Propulsion

Powerplant - 2 GTD Klimov TV3-117VM, 2228 hp each.

Rotor setup - Five blade main rotor, Three blade tail rotor.

Diameter - 21.3 m main rotor, 3.91 m tail rotor.

  • Performance

Speed - 250 km/h max, 230 km/h cruise.

Range - 620 km

Ceiling - 6 km

Climb rate - 9 m/s

  • Armament

6x Hardpoints to carry:

  1. LAHAT anti-tank guided missile pylon (4x missiles)
  2. Spike-ER fire-and-forget missile pylon (4x missiles)
  3. UB-16-57 unguided rocket launcher (16x rockes)
  4. ??Hydra 70 unguided rocket launcher??

Additional Pictures:

Spoiler

First demonstration at Aero India 2001
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Demonstration at Paris-Le Bourget 2001
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In-flight 2006


Date unknown, IAI hangar (2001-2007?)
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Demonstration at Paris-Le Bourget 2007
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Parked at IAI ramp in TLV airport, 2016

Parked at IAI ramp in TLV airport, 2017

Parked at IAI ramp in TLV airport, 2018


Final Words:

Israeli helicopter modifications are a very niche topic and largely unexplored by most people. I’m so glad I found another great example of that. As with IAI Mission 24, this helicopter was found by a sheer luck. Once I started researching it, I discovered that there is not much information about this helicopter. Piece by piece I found information related to the helicopter. Other information was found simply by examining existing photographs. I tried to do as much as possible using as little as I had, so there may be some mistakes. So if you notice something and have information, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thank you so much for reading my suggestion.


Sources:

Spoiler
4 Likes

Mission-24’s obese little brother… I love it

Have this, Mission-24, and Ka-50-2 in a 2nd heli line for Israel.

+1, seems similar to the Mi-8AMTSh-VN which can also get the fire and forget LMUR.

+1 from me, always nice to see a heavily modified and modernised vehicle.

I’m assuming that all pylons are capable of carrying the weapons listed, is this the case or is it more like the outermost/outer two are able to carry ATGMs while the inboard are limited to rockets?

Either way would be cool to see at some point in game :)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any source for its loadouts. I’ve only listed the weapons it was seen with in photographs (and the Hydra rockets with a big question mark since no photographs exist).

As for how many ATGMs it can carry, judging by the photographs, it only carries them at the outmost hardpoint.
I think I saw somewhere a lowpolly 3D model of the Mi-8, with two LAHAT pylons on each side. But I can’t consider this a good source.

that makes sense especially considering the loadouts it carried in Russian service, thanks for the response!