03 October 2008

A Soviet version of 'Airwolf'?

My blog sub-title says "Gaming, Politics and Telly". The telly's been a bit absent from here recently, so I might as well rectify it with this bit of random thinking.

Airwolf was a TV programme about a supersonic helicopter (yeah, I know the physics aren't too plausible, although there was a vague explanation...), broadcast from 1983 to 1987. Wikipedia has a page on it.

Being a guy who has quite an interest in the military equipment of the former USSR and its successor states, I wondered what a Soviet version of this rather cool looking chopper would be like.

We could go one of two ways on this- a development in response to the fielding of the helicopter, or a programme developed at the same time (late 1970s, early 1980s).

I'll go for the latter (hey, Firefox is a cool movie too) and assume similar mission aims.

Platform

Airwolf was a converted Bell 222. The USSR would have to use a civilian helicopter in order to fulfil the "wolf in sheep's clothing principle" of things.

The Mi-8 "Hip", while a very common helicopter, suffers from a major drawback- it's too big. It's a medium transport helicopter with a passenger capacity of about 30 people. An airborne command post, maybe, but not something for the Airwolf role.

I think they would go for the Mi-2 "Hoplite". This was produced exclusively in Poland, but that's not an issue for a conversion job in the centre of Soviet Russia. (In Soviet Russia, helicopter converts you! ;))

Weaponry

If we were to use direct counterparts, the air-to-air stuff would be done by Strela/SA-7s. That said, the SA-7 isn't too brilliant (neither is the Redeye), so the Soviets might go for the R-60/AA-8 "Aphid" AAMs.

Bullpup equivalent would be the Kh-23/AS-7 "Kerry". I don't know quite how good this is. The Kh-25/AS-10 "Karen" might be better.

Cannons- I don't know too much about that.

Aircrew

Pilots could be found from the helicopter pilots who participated in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. They'd have experience in dealing with low-level SAM and AAA fire. A three-person crew would be enough.

Thoughts?


1 comment:

SludgeHeap said...

In reality, retreating blade stall would limit the speed of any rotorcraft, but counterrotating rigid blades do have promise. The Army's Comanche, though, is probably more advanced than anything the Soviets could have created. Its stowed weapons owe their inspiration to Airwolf.

By the way, that Wikepedia page has nothing on the Airwolf website. You can find all the specs you want on it (check out the Flight Manual), and even watch promos and the show itself in the episode guide.