|Mi-2 of the Polish Air Force|
|Design group||Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant|
|First flight||22 September 1961|
|Primary users||Soviet Air Force|
Polish Armed Forces
|Developed from||Mil Mi-1|
The first production helicopter in the Soviet Union was the Mil Mi-1, modelled along the lines of the S-51 and Bristol Sycamore and flown by Mikhail Mil's bureau in September 1948. During the 1950s it became evident, and confirmed by American and French development, that helicopters could be greatly improved with turbine engines. S. P. Isotov developed the GTD-350 engine and Mil used two of these in the far superior Mi-2.
The twin shaft-turbine engines used in the Mi-2 develop 40% more power than the Mi-1's piston engines, for barely half the engine weight, with the result that the payload was more than doubled. The Mi-2 fuselage was extensively altered from its predecessor, with the engines mounted overhead. However, the external dimensions remained similar.
The Mil-built prototype first flew in the Soviet Union on 22 September 1961, after the initial development the project was transferred to Poland in 1964. The first Świdnik-built example flew on 4 November 1965 (making this the only Soviet-designed helicopter to be built solely outside the Soviet Union). PZL-Świdnik produced a total of 5,497 helicopters, about a third for military users. The factory also developed fiberglass rotor blades, and developed the wide-body Mi-2M seating 10 passengers instead of eight. Most typical role-change kits include four stretchers for air ambulance usage, or aerospraying or cropdusting applications.
In Poland, several specialized military variants were also developed for support or reconnaissance roles, with 23 mm autocannon, machine guns and/or two 57 mm rocket pods, four 9K11 Malyutka anti-tank missiles or Strela-2 AA missiles.
The Mi-2 was first introduced into the Soviet Air Force in 1965. The Mi-2 is used by mainly former Soviet and Eastern Bloc countries, although it was also purchased by Mexico and Myanmar armed forces.
North Korea still maintains a large active fleet of Mi-2s.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
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