A new "Sova-Attack" technology demonstrator for the Mil Mi-24 assault helicopter has been unveiled by one of the teams bidding to upgrade 12-18 of the aircraft for the Bulgarian air force, writes Alexander Mladenov.

Unveiled at the defence ministry-owned Terem Branch Letetz maintenance, overhaul and repair facility in Sofia on 27 August, the aircraft has been modified by the ATL consortium, which acquired the Mi-24 from surplus Bulgarian stock earlier this year. The consortium comprises ATE of South Africa's French subsidiary, Liconex; Terem and Thales of France. The Sova-Attack demonstrator has been modified to ATE's partial Super Hind Mk II standard using the avionics core system from Denel's Rooivalk attack helicopter. This has also been proven with Algerian air force Mi-24s already upgraded by the South African company.

ATL is conducting a privately funded study into Mi-24 and Mi-17 utility helicopter upgrades, with Bulgaria seen as a potential launch customer.

The Bulgarian defence ministry is expected to launch a tender for an Mi-24D/V upgrade in the last quarter of this year. Others contesting the requirement include BAE Systems; Elbit Systems and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego; and Israel Aircraft Industries' Lahav division and Sagem.

Source: Flight International