On June 9, 1961, the first Mi-8 Hip prototype, with a single AI-24V turboshaft and four-bladed main rotor system, lifted off for its maiden flight. On September 17, 1962, the Hip B, modified with two TV2-117 1,482-horsepower turboshafts mounted atop the fuselage, and a five-bladed main rotor system measuring 70 feet in diameter, took flight. The Mi-8 went into full production in 1965, and by 2000 fifty-four countries operated the more than 10,000 Mi-8s manufactured by the Rostov and Kazan production facilities in Russia and by foreign licensees. Designed as a medium-lift transport helicopter, the Hip, in its many variants, fulfilled a miscellany of mission requirements, including troop and cargo transportation, air ambulance, attack helicopter, airborne command post, fire fighter, and civilian carrier.
Constructed of light alloys, the Hip featured a “bus-shaped” fuselage with a rounded nose and glassed-in cockpit that accommodated a pilot, copilot, and flight engineer. The cabin housed twenty-four passengers, 8,800 pounds of cargo, or twelve stretchers. A large sliding door on the forward port side and rear-opening clamshell doors simplified loading large cargo. Removable interior seats and an internal winch capable of lifting 350 pounds that doubled as a rescue hoist facilitated cargo handling. Additionally, Mil equipped the aircraft with a cargo hook capable of carrying slingloads up to 6,500 pounds. A long tailboom extended from the upper portion of the fuselage and swept up to a tapered vertical fin that housed the gearbox and tailrotor, attached to the left side (right on the export versions).
External racks attached along the center of the 61-foot fuselage were designed to hold auxiliary fuel pods or weapons systems. Variants of the Hip carried a combination of 57-mm or 80-mm rockets, AT-2 Swatter or AT-3 Sagger ATGMs, 12.7- or 23-mm gun pods, or either 4 500-pound or 2 1,000-pound bombs. In 1967, Mil introduced the Hip E and F ground support helicopters, each mounting a flexible 12.7-mm heavy machine gun under the nose and carrying 192 57-mm rockets. Combat troops could also fire their individual weapons from the windows of the helicopter. In later models Mil installed the upgraded Isotov TV2-117A engines, which produced 1,700 horsepower each. Generally a Hip cruised at 122 knots, had a service ceiling of 14,700 feet, and hovered Out of Ground Effect (OGE) at 2,600 feet. All Mi-8s rested on a fixed tricycle landing gear, with dual wheels at the nose. Total production estimates ran as high as 15,000 units of the Mi-8 and its export version, the Mi-17.
Designed to replace Mi-4, first flown in June 1961; used by Soviet and Russian forces and Aeroflot. Military versions denoted by round windows and armed with machine guns and 57-mm rockets. Later version designed and equipped for ECM operations. Introduced in August 1975, Mi-17 employed Mi-8 fuselage and Mi-14 engines; latest version with upgraded engines is Mi-17 Hip H. More than 10,000 of all variants manufactured and used by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Madagascar, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, North Yemen, People’s Republic of China, Slovakia, South Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, and Zambia.
Crew: 3 (pilot, copilot, flight engineer)
24 passengers or
12 stretchers and seat for 1 medical attendant or
3,000 kg (6,600 lb) on internal/external hardpoints
Length: 18.17 m (59 ft 7 in)
Rotor diameter: 21.29 m (69 ft 10 in)
Height: 5.65 m (18 ft 6 in)
Disc area: 356 m² (3,832 ft²)
Empty weight: 7,260 kg (16,007 lb)
Loaded weight: 11,100 kg (24,470 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 12,000 kg (26,455 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Klimov TV3-117Mt turboshafts, 1,454 kW (1,950 shp) each
Fuel max total capacity: 3,700 l (977 US gal)
Maximum speed: 260 km/h (140 kt)
Range: 450 km (280 mi)
Ferry range: 960 km (596 mi)
Service ceiling: 4,500 m (14,765 ft)
up to 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of disposable stores on six hardpoints, including 57 mm S-5 rockets, bombs, or 9M17 Phalanga ATGMs.
Prototypes/experimental/low production rate variants
V-8 (NATO – Hip-A)
The original single-engined prototype.
A twin-engined prototype, featuring TV2-117 turboshaft engines, the prototype underwent further modifications during its life.
Prototype of the Mi-8T utility version.
Mi-8 (NATO – Hip-B)
Conversion to operate on LPG gas.
Prototype design, a modification of the existing Mil Mi-8. Two Mi-8s were extended by 0.9 meters (3 ft), the landing gear made retractable, and a sliding door added to the starboard side of the fuselage. The Mi-18s were used in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and later used as static training airframes for pilots of the Mi-8/17.
Basic military transport/airframe variants
Mi-8T (NATO – Hip-C)
First mass production utility transport version, it can carry four UV-16-57 unguided rocket pods, (with S-5 rockets), on four weapons pylons on two sub-wings, and is armed with one or two side mounted PK machine guns.
Armed version of the Mi-8T.
Mi-8TVK (NATO – Hip-E, aka Mi-8TB)
Version used as a gunship or direct air support platform. Airframe modifications add 2x external hard points for a total of 6, and mount a flexible 12.7 mm (0.5-inch) KV-4 machine gun in the nose. Armament of 57 mm S-5 rockets, six UV-32-57 rocket pods, 551-lb (250-kg) bombs, or four AT-2 Swatter ATGMs.
Mi-8TBK (NATO – Hip-F)
Armed export version, fitted with six launch rails to carry and fire Malyutka missiles.
Command and electronic warfare variants
Mi-8IV (NATO – Hip-G, a.k.a. Mi-9)
Airborne command post version fitted with “Ivolga” system, characterized by antennas, and Doppler radar on tail boom.
Mi-8PP (NATO – Hip-K)
Airborne jamming platform with “Polye” (field) system. From 1980, the type was fitted with the new “Akatsiya” system and redesignated the Mi-8PPA. It is characterized by six “X”-shaped antennas on each side of the aft fuselage. Built to escort troop-carrying versions of this helicopter, and disrupt potentially-nearby SPAAG radars, such as those of the Flakpanzer Gepard.
Polish airborne command post version.
Mi-8SMV (NATO – Hip-J)
Airborne jamming platform with “Smalta-V” system, characterized by two small boxes on each side of the fuselage. Used for protection of ground attack aircraft against enemy air defenses.
Mi-8VPK (NATO – Hip-D, a.k.a. Mi-8VzPU)
Airborne communications platform with rectangular communication canisters mounted on weapons racks and with two frame-type aerials above the rear fuselage.
Other military variants
Minelaying version with four VSM-1 dispensers. Each dispenser contains 29 cassettes KSO-1 with anti-personnel mines, for example 7,424 x PFM-1 or 464 x POM-2 or 116 x PTM-3.
Minelaying version with VMR-1 or -2 system for 64 or 200 anti-tank mines.
Military ambulance version.
Mi-8R (a.k.a. Mi-8GR)
Tactical reconnaissance version with Elint system “Grebeshok-5”.
Artillery observation, reconnaissance version.
Military staff transport version, fitted with improved radio equipment R-832 and R-111.
Fuel transport tanker version.
Only one was built and used by the Ukrainian Air Force, based at AB “Kirovskoe”. Intended for detection of re-entry vehicles, and small surface targets. In the nose radar antenna.