The Tamam division of Israel Aircraft Industries has been awarded a $20 million contract to upgrade 25 Russian-made Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopters.

Although the company declines to name the customer, India is thought to be one strong possibility. The contract includes the production of a prototype and the series upgrade of the Mi-24s at the customer's facilities.

The Indian defence ministry has been recently assessing potential suppliers for an Mi-24 avionics upgrade, including Israeli concerns, Sextant Avionique, Thomson-CSF and Russia's Rusverfot.

The Mi-24 upgrade is based on the Tamam helicopter multi-mission optronic stabilised payload (HMOSP) which gives the helicopter day/night observation and targeting capabilities.

The HMOSP, which weighs about 30kg (65lb), has television and forward looking infrared sensors with variable fields of view and an automatic target tracking feature applying centroid, or edge tracking, techniques.

The package will include a helmet-mounted display and sight, a digital moving map, the rearrangement of the fore and aft cockpits, an integrated self-protection suite and a preflight mission data handling system.

Tamam has already carried out upgrades on Israeli defence force CH-53 and AH-1 helicopters. The firm is thought to have acquired an Mi-24 from an unspecified CIS country to demonstrate the upgrade. Negotiations are under way with other Mi-24 operators for the package, says Doron Rotem, Tamam division general manager.

Source: Flight International