Russian military to get ‘Terminator’ Arctic helicopter for trials

Mi-8AMTSh helicopter. © Vitaliy Ankov
The Russian military are reportedly set to start trials of the Arctic version of the Mi-8 transport helicopter later this month. According to sources, the copter uses space technologies that can withstand even the harshest conditions of the Artic.

“The Mil Mi-8AMTSh-VA will be handed over to the military on November 25,” a source in the Russian delegation at the Dubai Airshow told Itar-Tass.

The development of the Arctic variant to join the extensive family of transport helicopters was first reported in 2013. It's a modified version of the combat transporter Mi-8AMTSh, unofficially nicknamed the “Terminator”, which has been in service since 2009.

The vehicle was adapted for the extreme cold, strong winds and limited visibility of its designated climate zone, including prolonged periods of darkness during polar nights. It will reportedly have an improved powerplant compared to the non-Arctic original and its cockpit will be protected from low temperatures with technologies taken from Russia's space exploration program.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it may contract up to 100 transporters of this model, supporting the country's growing military presence in the Arctic.

Moscow considers the resource-rich north a region of potential conflict and is upgrading its armed forces to be able to protect Russia's interests there.