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ATE Offers "Super Hind" Upgrade (Sept. 20)

Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE)'s SuperHind was the first Mi-24 upgrade to reach operational status as early as 1999. The SuperHind Mk III is presented for the first time at AAD 2002 as a cost-effective alternative to new combat helicopters.

The Mk III is one of three different upgrade packages offered by ATE for the Mi-24. It is believed to be the first advanced Mi-24 upgrade to achieve market success.

ATE operates two Mi-24 combat helicopters. Bearing South African civilian registration ZU-BOI and ZU-GAL, these helicopters are used for development and flight-test purposes. Both helicopters are derived from a Mi-24 V (Hind-E). The first one to be operational, ZU-BOI, was used to develop the SuperHind Mk III. It carries most elements of the production Mk III's and is also fitted with a comprehensive flight test installation. The second Mi-24, ZU-GAL, is being used for development of the ''Agile" SuperHind. The Agile is an even more ambitious program, featuring airframe mass reduction and a more complex mission system.

The SuperHind is based on the Hind-E airframe. It is fitted with a new integrated navigation and weapons suite, driven by a powerful mission computer. The aircraft controls and systems are unchanged and Mi-24 rated pilots will immediately feel at home, a spokesman for ATE says.

Yet, experience on Russian types is not a prerequisite to fly the Mk III. However unusual, the Mi-24 is a well-equipped and instrumental helicopter with straightforward systems, according to ATE. Several pilots and weapons systems operators have already been converted to the type without any difficulty.

"The originality of the SuperHind mission suite is that is blends harmoniously with the aircraft. The mission computer interfaces with the original aircraft systems which is a major cost saving. The various sights and panels driving the mission equipment merge in the cockpits. The capability to find and destroy all conventional targets by day and night and using NVGs is literally at the crew's fingertips.

(by Erika Gibson)

Flying the Super Hind