Algeria has ordered 42 Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopters and six Mi-26T2 cargo helicopters in a nearly $3 billion deal, according to Russian media.
ARMS-TASS reports that Algeria signed the approximately $2.7 billion deal with Russian Helicopters for the Mi-28s, Mi-26s and modernisation of 39 of the Algerian Air Force’s Mi-171Sh (Mi-8AMTSh) helicopters. They will be modified at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant and will receive upgraded armament.
Algeria has long expressed interest in acquiring Russian helicopters, contemplating an order for 42 Mi-28s as early as mid-2010. In 2011 Rostvertol (a division of Russian Helicopters) said a commercial proposal had been sent to Algeria and that the company had hoped to sign a contract for delivery in 2012-2017.
The Mi-28 first flew in November 1982 as a replacement for the Mi-24/25. The Mi-28N Night Hunter day/night version flew in November 1996 and features a radar mounted on the rotor mast. The Mi-28N is armed with up to 16 Shturm and Ataka anti-tank missiles. Shturm is a short-range, radio command-guided missile while the Ataka missile’s guidance is by narrow radar beam. Maximum range of the missile is 8 km. The helicopter can also carry 80mm or 122mm rockets and gun pods. The helicopter is equipped with a turreted 30mm cannon.
Russian Helicopters previously flew an Mi-26T to Algeria where it was demonstrated to the Algerian Air Force. It is believed that production of the Algerian Mi-26Ts has already started. The modernised Mi-26T2 features a night vision compatible glass cockpit and improved avionics and can lift 20 tons of payload.
The Algerian Air Force has ordered numerous helicopters in recent years, including two AW101s for VIP transport, six AW101s for the Algerian Navy, ten AW109 Light Utility Helicopters for its police force, 15 AW109s for the Gendarmerie and five AW139s for the country’s Protection Civile.
At the moment the Algerian Air Force flies approximately 16 AS 355/555s, 3 Bell 412s, 10 Super Lynx, three Ka-32s, 28 Mi-2s and 102 Mi-8/17/171s. Several older Mi-6 and Mi-4 helicopters may also be in service.
The Algerian Air Force’s main attack helicopter is the Mi-24D/V, 30 of which were upgraded by Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE – now Paramount Advanced Technologies) to Mi-24-III Super Hind standard.