The wide availability of Mi-24/35 “Hind” helicopters in the third world and Eastern European countries is attracting aviation industries specializing in modernizations to offer upgrading packages for this rotorcraft. More than 3,000 Hinds designed by the Russian design bureau Mil, were built and produced in Moscow, Rostov and Arsenyev factories since their 1970 inception. About 1,500 are believed to remain in service in some 30 countries. Modernization and “Westernization” packages are currently offered by the Russian Rostvertol company, as well as by a number of western companies, from the UK, Israel and South Africa.
The Russians introduced basic modifications with their Mi-24 design, with the installation of cockpit lighting modifications, compatible with night vision goggles. Other improvements include the installation of US supplied FLIRs, GPS navigation systems, (as provided to the air force of Zimbabwe). Further modifications are now promoted by Rosvertol
The first major modification was performed on a Mi-24/35 fleet, probably in India. The Israel Aircraft Industries Tamam electro-optics company performed a comprehensive conversion for the an unidentified Mi-24 fleet, with the introduction of night operation capability. Designated `Mission 24′ (shown in photo above), the modification included 25 helicopters fitted with the Tamam Multi-mission Optronics Stabilized Payload system incorporating TV, FLIR imaging and automatic target tracker, and an IAI/MLM mission computer. The cockpit was modified to comply with night vision goggles lighting and a monocular helmet sight.
El-Op, currently a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, has also proposed a derivative of its COMPAS thermal/TV optronics payload for Mi-24 installation. The company offers its comprehensive upgrading suite for Mi-24s, including a digitized, highly integrated “glass cockpit”, and enhanced weapons systems integration. The helicopter retain the Russian 9K113M Ataka missiles, but will also be able to use western anti-tank missiles chosen by the operating air force. For example, Poland recently announced the selection of the Israeli Spike ER (formerly known as NT-D) was chosen.