The Fascinating Tale of the Soviet Mil V-12: Delving into its Rich History


When it comes to creating stealth aircraft, the focus is usually on subtlety. In a world where surveillance technology has reached unimaginable heights, everyone, from ordinary internet users to global governments, wants their secret operations to remain just that – a secret. However, the Soviet Union had a different approach. They designed an unbelievably enormous helicopter capable of carrying up to 105 tons.

The extraordinary story of the Mil V-12 begins with the Mi V-6. According to E. Gordon et al in “Mil’s Heavylift Helicopters,” this helicopter was developed by OKB-329. The task assigned to the development department was to create a robust cargo helicopter capable of transporting military equipment, a crucial requirement considering the vastness and challenging terrain of the Soviet Union. The production model, known as the Mi-6, remained in service until 1980. Thanks to its dual Soloviev D-25V engines, it was able to carry an astonishing load of approximately 8 tons of sling cargo, a groundbreaking feat at that time.

Yet, the best was yet to come. The Mi-6 was followed by the Mil Mi-10, an adapted version that could cruise at 220 KPH while weighing nearly 96,000 pounds with its average cargo. The next creation by the team was the V-12, which took its first experimental flight in the late 1960s. Although it remained a prototype and was never put into active use, it holds the record for being the largest helicopter ever built.

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