South Africa's Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE) has unveiled plans for a sensor and weapons upgrade kit for Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopters. The company expects to complete modification of one aircraft shortly, for use as a marketing demonstrator. Flight tests are due to get under way early next year.

The kit comprises a turreted 20mm chain gun, a Kentron 550mm stabilised mount fitted with infrared/electro-optic sights and a target designator, and a cockpit upgrade to support a new sight display and provide improved night vision equipment compatibility. The standard Soviet-built Mi-24 has either a turret mounted four-barrel 12.7mm machine gun or a fixed fuselage-mounted twin 30mm cannon, with low light television and magnification systems and an electro-optical sensor.

The ATE gun and sensor turret are located forward of the existing weapons operator's cockpit, replacing the existing chin-mounted sensor and weapons.

The upgrade kit may also be marketed in conjunction with the Denel Kentron Ingwe and Mokopa anti-armour missiles. Kentron confirms that the company is co-operating closely with the manufacturer in the development of the package.

The Mi-24 upgrade concept evolved partly from previous Denel Aviation proposals to upgrade Polish air force W-3 Sokol helicopters to W-3BW Huzar standard. The Mi-24 upgrade market has "significant potential", according to ATE general manager Carel de Beer, with more than 1,500 Mi-24s still in operational service around the world.

Earlier this year, Israel Aircraft Industries' Tamam division concluded a deal with India to update 25 Mi-24s with cockpit avionics and targeting sensors.

Source: Flight International