Ukraine is arming Mi-8 with Turkish Barrier-W rockets and warheads

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KYIV, ($1=27.33 Ukrainian Hryvnia) – The Turkish concern Aselsan has signed a contract with the Ukrainian company Motor Sicz and the state-owned Ukroboronprom for the modernization of Mi-8 helicopters, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence24. The machines are to receive Ukrainian Barrier-W guided missiles and Turkish optoelectronic warheads. Possibly the same ones used on Bayraktar TB2 UAVs.

Photo credit: TASS

The contract was signed during the SAHA Expo in Istanbul in mid-November and concerns a proposal for the joint modernization of Mi-8 helicopters. There is no detailed information, but according to Turkish and Ukrainian media, they are de facto separate projects.

The first is the complete modernization of the Mi-8 for both the Ukrainian armed forces and foreign recipients. It includes the cooperation of the Motor Sicz and Ukroboronprom plants in the modernization of the Mi-8 using an optoelectronic head supplied by Aselsan. Most likely, the CATS head used in the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles is equipped with an HD TV and thermal channel, rangefinder, and laser target for guided missiles.

This suggests that the Ukrainian warhead OPSN-I, advertised at this year’s Arms and Security 2021 exhibition in Kyiv, is not very successful or its production is slowing down. Ukroboronprom together with Motor Sicz offers Mi-8MSB-W machines equipped with digital avionics and armed with Barrier-W guided missiles and a wide range of unguided weapons.

The second, separate issue is the agreement signed by Aselsan and Ukroboronprom. It is about the supply of Ukrainian guided missiles for modernization offered by Aselsan. This is not the first collaboration of its kind. In 2019, the two companies jointly developed a remote-controlled weapon module for vehicles armed with 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns and two anti-tank guided missiles Skif.

As part of the project, Ukraine was responsible for the missile weapons and the construction of the module, while the Turkish concern Aselsan provided a stabilization system, fire control system, auto tracker, and guidance system with laser rangefinder, as well as thermal and TV cameras.

The conclusion of these agreements shows the deepening of Turkish-Ukrainian cooperation in the field of the defense industry, aimed largely at cooperation and complementarity of the proposal for third countries.

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