Country of origin
Dimensions and weight
Main rotor diameter
Weight (maximum take off)
Engines and performance
2 x ZMKB Progress D136 turboshafts
2 x 10 000 shp
1 952 km
80 troops, or 60 stretchers, or 20 t of cargo
Halo) is a twin-turbine heavy-lift helicopter. It is the world's
largest production helicopter. The Halo's development started in the
early 1970s. The designer's goal was to produce a helicopter with a
load capacity twice that of any contemporary helicopter. The first
Mi-26 Halo prototype flew in December 1977 and was first displayed
at the Paris Air Show in 1981. In 1982, Russian squadrons received
their first Halos, which were not fully operational until 1983. In
1986, India was the first country to purchase a Halo. Since then
Halos have been sold to nearly twenty countries. The cost of a Halo
is between $10 million and $12 million.
The Halo has
the load-carrying capability of a domestic
C-130 transport plane. Its cargo area, with the rear ramp
closed, is 12 m long, and 3.2 m wide, with a minimum ceiling height
of 2.9 m. This cargo area can hold two combat vehicles weighting 9
988 kg each. The interior can be configured to seat 80
combat-equipped troops or 60 stretchers. However there were cases
when this helicopter was flying overloaded with 150 troops. The Halo is flown by a
crew of four: pilot, copilot, flight engineer, and navigator. The
flight deck and cabin are fully air conditioned, but only the flight
deck is pressurized.
landing gear is a noretractable tricycle-type with a steerable nose
wheel. The main gear can be hydraulically adjusted to facilitate
loading through the rear door. This adjustable feature is also used
when landing on varied surfaces. Each of the main gears has a sensor
to determine takeoff weight. This information is displayed at the
flight engineer's station at liftoff. The Halo's retractable tail
skid offers unrestricted accessibility to the rear cargo loading
door. There is a hatch on the underside of the fuselage that opens
to give access to a load sling. This sling is attached to an
internal winch that's in-line with the main rotor shaft.
Closed-circuit television cameras enable crew members to monitor the
load beneath the aircraft.
The Halo was
the first helicopter to successfully fly with an eight-blade main
rotor. This rotor is 32 m in diameter and is made of composites and
aluminum alloys, with a leading edge made of titanium. The main
rotor head and the tail rotor head are both made of titanium. The
flight controls are hydraulically boosted with a redundant autopilot
and stability-augmentation system. The enormous Halo is powered by
two 10 000-shaft-horsepower ZMKB Progress D-136 turboshaft engines.
Each engine bay is made of titanium for protection against fire.
variants of the Mi-26 Halo have been built.
upgraded version with improved navigation system.
Mi-26T is a civil
transport version that is essentially the same as the military
model. It provides accommodation for 70 passengers.
Mi-26TP a fire-fighting version
that's able to carry 7 500 liters of fire retardant, and a geological
survey version that is used for towing seismic gear.
Mi-26P is a transport version that can accommodate
in airline-type seating. Amenities for the transport include a
galley and a restroom.
electronic warfare version.
version for disaster relief tasks, equipped with deactivating liquid
tank and underbelly spraying apparatus, used in the 1986 Chernobyl
Mi-26TZ is a
fuel tanker that can carry 14 000
liters of additional fuel. This fuel can be dispensed by four hoses to
other aircraft, or by ten hoses to ground vehicles.
Mi-26MS is a
full medical evacuation version. It houses an operating room, pre-op
section, laboratory, restroom, scrub facilities, and food storage.
Mi-26TM is a flying crane. An under-fuselage gondola is large
enough for the crane operator and one other person.
the latest and most powerful variant. All M-version helicopters are
equipped with two ZMKB Progress D-127 turboshaft engines. These
engines each produce approximately 14 000 shaft horsepower. This
additional power increases the maximum payload to 24 970 kg. The
additional power provided by these engines also allows maximum
payload-carrying ability at high altitude and in warm weather,
conditions that are generally detrimental to any helicopter's