Mil Mi-26NEF-M ASW helicopters?


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21 May 2006
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I read a while ago that there was a proposed anti-submarine warfare variant of the giant and very capable Mil Mi-26 ‘Halo‘, which was designated the Mi-26NEF-M

This would have been a very capable machine, and yet very expensive to build and operate.

Does anyone have any more info (how was it going to be used, was it to be armed……), drawings etc of this proposed variant

The Bell HSL was actually the first ASW helicopter ever built, followed by the SH-3 Sea King.
The Bell HSL was actually the first ASW helicopter ever built, followed by the SH-3 Sea King.

So? "Mother of all x" does not refer to the first x, it refers to very large or spectacular versions of x. The mother of all bombs wasn't the first bomb, it was a massive one (MOAB).
Prior to 1990 and the "mother of all battles" quip by Iraq and Saddam Hussein, "mother of all" referred to many things, including Vahe Demirjian's usage as first example of a thing, but never to "very large or spectacular version of X". That meaning originated with the Gulf War.

Frankly my first thought was also "what is the first ASW helicopter". If you mean to talk about an ASW version of the Mi-26 that really should be in the thread title. It would make searching for ASW Mi-26 easier, and everyone would know what the thread was about. Clever titles aren't really useful on this kind of forum.
What would the endurance be like? Bigger = more fuel usually. But would it be so superior to the SH-3, SH-60 and KA-25/27 in this regard? Given the Mi-26 makes the CH-47 look rather small, I'm guessing this was not for shipborne roles, but rather to operate from naval bases?
Isn't it more simply a search radar mounted on a Mil-26 or a simple testbed (Mi-14?)? I very much doubt that you'll pack a radar and left unused the 20t of cargo available.
From 'Red Star' 22, 'Mil's Heavylift Helicopters', pp. 85-6 :-

"Mi-26NEF-M ASW helicopter

In 1990 a production Mi-26 (CCCP-06146. c/n 34001212317} was converted into the prototype of the Mi-26NEF-M shore-based ASW helicopter equipped with a dunking sonar. Nef (Russian for 'nave‘) was probably the name of the mission equipment suite. The machines main external distinguishing feature was the curiously drooping ‘tapir snout‘ housing a 360' search radar instead of the usual weather radar. A towed magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) 'bird' was located under the non-functional rear clarnshell doors also. two bulges over as-yet unidentified equipment were positioned on the fuselage sides above the chaff/flare dispensers.
Apparently the mission equipment was developed by the Leningrad-based LNPO Leninets (Leninist), which was one of the Soviet Union's leading avionics houses. (LNPO = Leningrahdskoye naoochno-proizvod'stvennoye obyedinenrye — Leningrad Scientific & Production Association. It is now known as the Leninets Holding Company.)
The work did not proceed beyond the experimental stage. On 18th August 1991 the Mi-26N EF-M was unveiled to the public at the open doors day at Pushkin near St. Petersburg, LNPO Leninets's Flight test facility, during the annual Aviation Day air fest.
Later the helicopter was fully reconverted to standard configuration, serving with lhe New Zealand based airline Heli Harvest as RA-06146."

Odd that they used a shore-based helicopter with dipping sonar.
Fuel burn increases massively in the hover.
Perhaps dipping sonar was the best available back then.
By the 1980s, the Royal Canadian Navy primarily used disposable sona-bouys to hunt submarines.
Well you take your pick, advantages and disadvantages with both.
But I agree that for prolonged hovering the Mi-26 would use up a lot of fuel and I doubt its really got the acceleration for rapid transits from dipping spot to dipping spot.
Also, with a dipping sonar you get a loud of radiated noise, some it will go down the cable but a lot of it will be reflected sounds waves off the surface of the water. With that massive rotor beating your probably not going to have ideal sonar conditions in shallow waters. So agree that sonobuoys would have made more sense in this case.
So agree that sonobuoys would have made more sense in this case.
Certainly no weight or space constraint!

Mi-26 is a weird choice no matter how you slice it.

I wonder if the extra weight and space might have been used for more sensor operators. Decided their best equipment doesn't squeeze into a Hormone or Helix. Perhaps the search radar and extra "unidentified" fairings have some ELINT gear. Might quarterback ASW operations near naval installations.

Or trade all that space and weight for more fuel. Maybe minelaying.

Or as someone suggested above, just a test bed for whatever systems or integration was being looked at. Easier to use a big airframe with lots of SWAP-C to install for testing than to shoehorn it into something smaller.
It could well be a testbed more than a serious ASW prototype.
Saying that the An-72P MRA dates from this period too so there might have been some interest in a larger coastal ASW platform around this time that spurred these developments.
Certainly no weight or space constraint!
If you don't find a weight or space constraint, the requirement isn't sufficiently ambitious!

If not a system testbed, my guess would be someone trying to get the mission systems of a fixed-wing long-range maritime patrol aircraft into a helicopter. That would naturally push you to something Mi-26 sized, I think.
I have a growing suspicion that this type was meant to be designed as a multirole type, so it would operate as an ASW as well as an ELINT/SIGINT or minelaying platform. This would be extremely useful if it were to operate in the crowded waters of the Baltic.

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