is a Soviet/Russian heavy transport helicopter.Operated by both military and civilian operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter to have gone into series production. Powered by two Lotarev D-136 AI-136 it makes the Mi26 one of the most powerful helicopters every produce.
The Mi26 is manned by a crew of five, 2 pilots, 1 navigator, 1 flight engineer, 1 flight technician. It is able carry up to 90 troops or 44,000lbs of cargo.
The Mi-26S was a disaster response version hastily developed during the containment efforts of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. Thirty Mi-26 were used for radiation measurements and precision drops of insulating material to cover the damaged No. 4 reactor. It was also equipped with a deactivating liquid tank and underbelly spraying apparatus. The Mi-26S was operated in immediate proximity to the nuclear reactor, with a filter system and protective screens mounted in the cabin to protect the crew during delivery of construction materials to the most highly contaminated areas.
In 2002 a group of Chechen separatists armed with a man-portable air-defense system brought down a Russian Mil Mi-26 helicopter in a minefield, which resulted in the death of 127 Russian soldiers in the greatest loss of life in the history of helicopter aviation. It was also the most deadly aviation disaster ever suffered by the Russian Armed Forces, as well as their worst loss of life in a single day since 1999. Out of 142 on board the helicopter 127 were killed and 20 had injuries.
(The US Army contracted an Mil Mi 26 to retrieve two MH47s that crashed in Afghanistan)