Any military tactician will tell you that the most important aspect of any battlefront is the continuous supply of arms, medicine, troops and food. He will also tell you that to keep the forces motivated, you will need to evacuate the wounded and rescue those captured by enemy forces. The phrase “Leave No Man Behind” is very popular in military circles. Have you asked yourself how the military is able to accomplish this? Well, it is by use of the heavy lift helicopters.
Whether you are talking of the celebrated soviet Mi-26 or the Eurocopter-made H225, you will soon realize that helicopters are transportation tool of choice by both civilians and militaries. They can land and lift off from an uneven terrain and can move faster and further than the trucks. Take a look for 2017’s best heavy lift choppers.
The H225M was previously referred to as the E725. It is one of the most celebrated helicopters in the Cougar family of twin engine Eurocopters. You may also find the EC225, the civilian version of the same chopper.
The helicopter comes with Turbomeca Makila twin engines with 2A turbo shaft, each of which provide approximately 1800 kW of power. This is an increase of 14 percent above the 1A2 engine that was previously produced for the chopper. Additional details of the chopper include;
- Suitable for tactical missions such as troops’ transportation, maritime surveillance, ground logistical support, special operations, ship borne operations and medical evacuations.
- It is also suitable for Search and rescue (SAR) as well as Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) operations by the military.
- Its flight range is 1200 nautical miles
- It can transport up to 19 troops in a radius of 250 nautical miles
- It can also rescue an MIA crew within a 280 nautical miles in the combat zone.
The Mi-10 is an improvement of the older Mi-6 with which it shares commonalities such as rotor system and power plant. The helicopter took its maiden flight in July 1961. It is still operated by the Russian Air force as well as other civil agencies. Among the noticeable improvements include fuselage with shallower cabin but deeper tail boom for more load to be hoisted. It also comes with a twin-wheeled undercarriage to further enhance its heavy lift capacity. Among its most important specifications include;
- It allows 3 members of the crew but can have up to 28 passengers.
- The chopper is powered by a twin d-25V turboshaft engine that combined give it 4045 kW of power.
- It rotor diameter is 35 meters and its entire length minus the rotor is 32.68 meters and 7.8 meters high.
- It has a maximum takeoff weight of 43,450 kilograms, and when empty it weighs 24,680 kilograms.
- It has a maximum speed of 235 kilometers per hour and a cruising speed of 220 kilometers per hour, and has a maximum payload of between 8,000 and 12,000 kilograms.
If you want to understand the H-92 Superhawk, then you need to know that is in the same family as the civilian S-92 and its improvement the H-60. It also happens to be in the same family with the Seahawk and the Blackhawk. It first flew in 1998 but entered service much later in 2004. It has been developed with the Sikorsky Black Hawk Technology. Among its other specifications include;
- A maximum speed of 306 kilometers per hour
- A cruising speed of 277 kilometers per hour
- A flight range of 999 kilometers
- A service ceiling of 4563 meters
- Empty weight of 786
The M1-26 is a heavy transport chopper with twin engines. It was manufactured for both civilian and military operations by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant in Moscow. Built in ‘77 but entering service in ‘85, it is said to be the second largest and most powerful chopper in the world. There is a whopping 276 Mi-26’s in operation around the world. Other specifications include;
- A maximum speed of 295 kilometers per hour
- A range of 1953 kilometers
- A Service ceiling of 4,600 meters
- A hover ceiling of 1700 meters
- Empty weight of 28,200 kilograms and take-off weight of 56,000 kilograms.
Officially known as the CH-54 Tarhe, this chopper is also referred to as the flying insect or the Skycrane. The name Skycrane is derived from its ability to heavy lift cargo in critical missions while the ‘flying insect’ name is due to its unusual shape which was adopted to enhance its load carrying capacity. It was essentially the beast if war during the Vietnam incursion as it performed missions such as rescue and recovery, troops transport armor transport and medical supplies. It is a product of the Sikorsky. Other specifications of the chopper include;
- Maximum payload of 12 tons.
- It has a unique shape that allows it to transport all forms of loads.
- It features a twin engine located atop the fuselage giving it wide space to hoist all types of containers calibrated according to universal military cargo pods.
The Mi-8 is a 4-turbines powered helicopter whose prototype came out in 1961. Its early models had similar rear fuselage and rotor blades as the Mi-4. The helicopter is powered by 2 Sitov engines with 1500 shaft horsepower. The chopper also comes with a 5-blade rotor and this has been the case since 1964. Among its specifications include;
- It can be used for rescue operations using the side cabin that has a lifting capacity of 250 kilograms.
- Below the fuselage, you can hook a load weigh as much as 2,500 kilograms.
Officially the Sikorsky CH-53 Stallion, this chopper made its maiden flight in ‘74 and entered service in 1981 under the US Marine Corps. Up to date, there has been a total of 172 stallions delivered out of which 162 are in service with the Atlantic and Pacific fleet.
Businesses such off-shore oil drilling regularly need helicopter transportation. Rescue and aid workers use choppers in dangerous environments. Politicians too use the choppers to hop from one meeting to the other during political campaigns. This is why you need to know the best heavy lift helicopters in 2017. If you are in need of heavy duty air transport, the above helicopters will not disappoint you.