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Mil's Heavylift Helicopters

Mil's Heavylift Helicopters Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2005 Title Mil's Heavylift Helicopters
Author Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy & Sergey Komissarov Publisher Midland Publications
Published 2005 ISBN 1-85780-206-3
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $36.95


In the early 1950s, the Mil OKB undertook a project to create a battlefield airlifter, an aircraft that could lift trucks, artillery, and heavy equipment around the battlefield as required. The result of this effort was the V-6 (Mi-6) (NATO Codename: HOOK). When it entered production, three different variants were simultaneously built - a medevac, transport, and assault versions. The aircraft was powered by a pair of D-25V turboshafts that could each produce 5,500 shaft horsepower (shp) at takeoff. The size of the cargo hold of the Mi-6 was similar to the An-12 Cub turboprop transport.

Taking heliborne airlift to the next level, Mil OKB designed the V-10 (Mi-10) which was the Soviet equivalent to the Sikorsky CH-54 Skycrane. The aircraft could lift outsize cargo (equipment that wouldn't fit inside the Mi-6) underneath its airframe. The Mi-10 was powered by the same engines as the Mi-6.

Not resting there, Mil OKB developed the worlds heavylift giant, the V-12. This aircraft was never put into production, but the two prototypes demonstrated the muscle of this twin, side-by-side rotor craft powered by four D-25VF engines of 6,500 shp. On one record-breaking flight, the V-12 lofted a cargo of over 88,000 pounds!

While the V-12 didn't go far, the need for a next-generation airlifter to replace the Mi-6 and Mi-10 was evident, so Mil OKB started work on what would become the Mi-26. Powered by a pair of D-136 engines rated at 11,400 shp each, the Mi-26 can carry over 44,000 pounds of cargo. That's more than twice the maximum cargo capacity of the Mi-6!

Author Yefim Gordon and his colleagues are back with an in-depth look at Soviet heavy airlift, rotary-wing style. This title looks into the design work and impressive accomplishments of the Mil OKB in developing heavylift helicopters unequalled anywhere in the world.

Coverage of this title does include:

  • Introduction
  • Bigger is Better: The First Soviet Heavylift Helicopter
  • The Flying Cranes
  • The Twin-Rotor Giant
  • The New Generation

This title is well-illustrated with drawings and black & white photos of each production sub-type of the Mi-6, Mi-10. V-12 and Mi-26 families. At the end of the title is a section with 34 color photographs of these heavylifters.

This is another nice historical piece from Midland Publications and fills another void in the published information about these aircraft. Definitely recommended!