The eternal human striving for superiority has left its mark in the history of helicopters. Today we will tell you about the largest rotary-wing machines.
The record holder among the largest helicopters is the Soviet V-12 (unofficial name - Mi-12). It was developed during the Cold War, when there was a need to deliver intercontinental ballistic missiles by air. D-25VF engines (4 pcs.) With a capacity of 26, 000 hp. from. lift a machine weighing 69, 1 ton and additionally a load of 30 to 40 tons.
The vehicle is controlled by six crew members from a two-tier cockpit. The B-12 features reverse narrowing wings with lateral propellers 35 meters in diameter each. And its huge cargo hold can accommodate almost 200 people. Helicopter dimensions: height - 12.5 m, length - 37 m.
B-12 in comparison with a conventional helicopter
For the first time, the B-12 took off on July 10, 1968 under the control of test pilot V.P. Koloshenko. The second copy took off in May 1973 under the guidance of test pilot G.V. Alferov. Both copies were sent to the aviation museum in 1974, where they are to this day. The production of such a large aircraft had to be closed due to the too high cost and the lack of suitable landing sites.
In second place among the largest helicopters was the Mi-26 - the younger brother of the V-12. Unlike its older "colleague", the Mi-26 is mass-produced by the Rostvertol plant and is used everywhere.
The main rotor of the machine consists of eight blades with a diameter of 32 meters, the tail rotor - of five blades with a diameter of about 7.5 meters. Two engines with a total capacity of 22.8 thousand hp. lift a machine weighing 28, 2 tons and additionally a load of up to 20 tons. Piloted by a crew of 2 to 6 people (depending on the model). Dimensions: height - 8 m, length - 40 m.
Today, the Mi-26 has up to 15 modifications that perform various functions and ensured wide popularity of the device. It is used for the transportation of goods, as well as:
- for medical purposes for transporting the wounded: holds up to 60 beds and medical staff;
- for military purposes: holds up to 85 soldiers;
- in forest fire or natural disaster rescue operations.
The Soviet Mi-26 was first tested on December 14, 1977 by test pilot G.R. Karapetyan. Massively produced since 1984 and during this time has managed to "light up" in numerous military conflicts, rescue operations, peacekeeping missions, in the field of passenger and cargo transportation. The helicopter is in service and operated for civilian purposes in more than 15 countries around the world.
Largest military helicopters
The largest military helicopter is the US-made Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion. Serially admitted since 1981 by Sikorsky Aircraft. CH-53E has several modifications and is in service with the United States and Japan. Piloted by five crew members. The main rotor Sikorsky consists of seven blades with a diameter of 24 meters, the tail rotor consists of four blades. Three engines with a capacity of 13, 1 thousand hp. lift Super Stallion weighing 15 thousand tons and an additional load of up to 16 tons. Helicopter dimensions: height - 8, 5 m, length - 30, 2 m. Accommodates from 37 to 55 soldiers on board.
The first prototype CH-53 took off on October 14, 1964 and has been modified many times since then. As a result, the first tests of the CH-53E passed in December 1980, and the following year it was already adopted by the US Navy. The equipment includes three machine guns, and night and infrared vision systems help to orientate well even in bad weather and combat conditions.
The largest Soviet military helicopter is the Mi-24. The main rotor of the machine consists of five blades with a diameter of 17, 3 meters, the tail rotor - of three blades with a diameter of 3, 9 meters. A pair of TV3-117 engines with a total capacity of 4.4 thousand liters. from. lift a machine weighing 7, 6 tons and a load of up to 2, 4 tons. Piloted by three crew members, it can additionally accommodate up to 8 paratroopers. Dimensions: height - 5.5 m, length - 17.5 m.
First tested on September 15, 1969 by test pilot G.V. Alferov, and after some modifications in 1971 went into mass production. In various modifications, the Mi-24 is in service in more than 40 countries around the world.
The Mi-24 is equipped with built-in cannon-small arms and, depending on the model, with grenade launchers, guided and unguided missile systems, bombs and cassettes.