Mi-35P and Mi-24 P Helicopters
Mil engineers had obviously never been too happy about the Air Force’s demand to substitute the Mi-24s projected cannon armament with a machine-gun. So in 1975 the OKB commenced trials of a more heavily armed derivative of the Mi-24V designated Mi-24P or Mi-35P (izdeliye 243): the P stood for pushechnyy – cannon-armed.
The USPU-24 barbette was deleted, resulting in a smooth nose a la Mi-24DU. Instead, a 30 mm (1.18 calibre) Gryazev/Shipoonov GSh-30K double-barrel fast- firing cannon (also referred to as GSh-2-30) was fitted: the cannon had passed its state acceptance trials in 1976 and was fitted to the Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot strike aircraft. The cannon was much too heavy and had a much too violent recoil to be installed in a chin barbette, so it had to be scabbed on to the starboard side of the forward fuselage in an elongated fairing under the pilot’s cockpit: the pilot was to aim the cannon by turning the whole helicopter.
Once again, an early-production Mi-24D with no intake filters was converted into the first prototype Mi-24P. Originally the cannon had short barrels which terminated about level with the LLLTV/FLIR pod’s rear end. However, the original cannon installation proved to be unsatisfactory, as the violent vibration generated by the cannon literally shook the avionics to pieces.
A lengthy redesign and trials programme followed; in the definitive version the barrels were nearly twice as long, extending beyond the nose and terminating in large funnel-shaped flame dampers to avoid ‘blinding’ the missile guidance sensors. This configuration was tested on the second prototype, a converted late-production Mi-24D or Mi-35.
In this form the Mi-24P entered production in 1981: more than 635 had been built when production ended in 1989. The “big gun” Hind was also offered for export as the Mi-35P. The NATO code-name was Hind-F.