LOM Praha has completed the next stage of modernization of Mi-171ShM helicopters

LOM Praha has completed the next stage of modernization of Mi-171ShM helicopters
Author: Mi-171|Caption: Steve Lynes, flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)
15 / 04 / 2021, 10:00

Mi-171ShM helicopters have undergone another phase of their modernization, which was carried out by the LOM state enterprise. The helicopters are designed for the Special Operation Air Task Unit (SOATU).

State enterprise LOM PRAHA completed the next stage of modernization of Mi-171ShM helicopters designed for the Special Operation Air Task Unit (SOATU). After the prototype installation on the helicopter 9781, other serial pieces were handed over to the Army of the Czech Republic. The implementation of modifications and constructions will continue in the following period.

The project named SOATU II was implemented on these helicopters, which have already undergone several modernization programs in the past. In terms of avionics, these helicopters are fully interoperable with Alliance units, and are not wrongly described as the best-equipped Mi-171Sh in the world.

See also: Czech Army’s Modernization Projects: the multipurpose helicopters

In terms of flight safety, in the first part of the project, the indication of flight instruments was modified from metric to imperial units. In the second, the scope of a much larger part of the project, it was primarily a retrofitting with kite elements, which will significantly expand the helicopter mission portfolio, further simplify cargo handling and increase the passive safety of the crew, especially the flight engineer.

In reality, it is a replacement for the LPG-150 on-board crane (with a load capacity of 150 kg) for the Breeze-Eastern 29900-59 crane with a load capacity of 600 pounds (272 kg) and a significantly higher winding speed. This crane will replace the second original SLG-300 crane with a load capacity of 300 kg, but weighing almost 180 kg and occupying a large part of the cargo cabin. In addition, a Tyler hook is integrated in the girder of the new crane, used to hang a fast-rope or a climbing rope intended for landings. Part of the crane assembly is also a footrest under the left door, which simplifies the pulling of cargo or rescued into the cabin.

See also: Passive radars, helicopters, tanks: A trio of controversial orders approved

A system of rails was installed in the cargo cabin to clamp the load, roller tracks and other equipment, including armor. This system will greatly simplify the work with the load and enable fastening in a standardized way used in NATO, including the possibility of simple work with the pallets used. The newly designed M-134DH "Minigun" on-board weapons boards are also clamped into this system, which are lighter and, thanks to the new clamping, allow easier installation than the previous ones.

The last element, but not the least important, is the unique flight engineer's restraint system, which allows him to work in the cockpit, but in the event of an accident does not allow the flight engineer to move freely around the cabin, which in the past led to injuries to him and other crew members. The use of the original restraint system was very limited, because it prevented the movement of the flight engineer and thus the performance of his tasks. Self-retracting belts from Schroth company, a renowned manufacturer of aviation security features, are now being used.

Author: Jan Kalita / LOM Prague

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