The Mi-8 was based on Mil's earlier Mi-4, with an enlarged cabin. Design work began in 1960, and the first prototype (known as the V-8) flew on July 7th, 1961. The aircraft entered service in 1967 after having the number of rotors it used changed from four to five.
The Mi-8 has been used by over 50 different countries since its introduction in various roles and for a number of purposes. It has been used in wars as a troop transport or attack aircraft, notably in the Vietnam War by the Soviet-backed North Vietnamese. It has also been operated as a civilian helicopter by various airlines and private owners. Aside from Russia, other major users of the Mi-8 include China, Cuba, India, and Poland. The Mi-8 is still being made today.
- Powerplant: two Klimov TV3 engines
- Maximum speed: 161 mph
- Range: 280 miles
- Service Ceiling: 14,765 feet
- Crew: 3
- Capacity: 24 people or 6,600 lbs of cargo
- Empty weight: 16,007 lbs
- Length: 59 feet 7 inches
- Height: 18 feet 6 inches
- Rotors: 5
- Armament: Six hardpoints capable of carrying S-5 rockets, 9M17 Phalanga missles, or bombs.