Ukraine Teams up with Turkey for Mi-8 Helicopter Upgrades

 Intergation with an EO targeting pod makes the Mi-8 helicopter into a fully combat capable platform
Intergation with an EO targeting pod makes the Mi-8 helicopter into a fully combat capable platform

Two Ukrainian companies have signed a deal with Turkey’s largest defense manufacturer to share upgrade work for Russian-built Mi-8 helicopters

Motor Sich and Ukroboronprom will work with Turkey’s Aselsan, a military electronics specialist, to perform electro-optical and missile upgrades on the Mi-8s, Defense News has reported. The deal was signed during Saha Expo, a defense and aerospace event held in Istanbul in November.

Under the plan, Aselsan will outfit the Mi-8s with either its Common Aperture Targeting System or its F-500C electro-optical system, enabling the aircraft to have laser targeting capabilities. It will also install either L-UMTAS or Cirit missile systems on the helicopters.

Read more: Aselsan to Supply EO Targeting Pods, AAMs for Modernization of Ukraine’s Mi-8 Helicopter Fleet

The deal will involve all Mi-8s in the inventory of several militaries,” an Aselsan official said.

The deal was signed on the margins of the SAHA Defense Expo held in Istanbul, Turkey, in November

In 2018, the Ukrainian Air Force inducted two refurbished Mi-8 helicopters – the Mi-8MTPB and Mi-8MTPI -- back into service. The aircraft have large, phased array antennas fitted to the outside of both sides of the main cabin, as well as additional antennas and aerials on the tail and elsewhere.

The Mi-8MTPI has the ability to detect, locate, and identify the type of hostile emitters, giving it a limited capacity to conduct intelligence gathering missions on enemy defenses.

This is the second helicopter modernization effort bringing together Ukrainian and Turkish companies. In August, Ukrspecexport and Turkish Aeronautical Association formed a partnership to provide repair and maintenance services for up to 1,500 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters. As part of the contract, the partners will initially provide depot-level maintenance and repair services for the 18 Mi-17 helicopters currently in use by Turkey’s Gendarmerie force.

Under a preliminary contract, the association had serviced Mi-17s at its maintenance base in the Turkish province of Isparta, although it’s unclear how many helicopters were involved.

For work on Turkish helos and potentially foreign platforms, a new maintenance and repair facility will be established in the Turkish capital Ankara. Spare parts and engine tests will be carried out in Ukraine by Motor Sich.

The partnership expects the most immediate work performed under the Ukrainian-Turkish-deal could come from Libya, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.

Read more: Motor-Sich has Got Contract to Deliver 30x Parts and Component Kits for AI-450T Engines Intended for Use in Turkey’s Akinci Combat UAVs