On June 19, journalist Alexander Kots released a video showing unidentified Russian loitering munitions hitting two depots of Kiev forces near the city of Bakhmut in the Donbass region.
Based on the indicators on the video, the munitions were controlled via the AS-UAV data-link system which was especially developed by the Luch Rybinsk Design Bureau for the Mi-28NM attack helicopter. The system has a range of 50 kilometers. It allows the advanced helicopter to launch and control loitering munition as well as to receive data from reconnaissance drones like the Forpost-R.
The Mi-28NM is a completely upgraded version of the Mi-28N. Beside the AS-UAV, the helicopter is equipped with a new H025 radar station for all-round visibility, an upgraded fire-control system, a DIRCM [Directional Infrared Counter Measures] and the new Izdeliye 296 onboard radio-electronic data processing system.
The helicopter was also equipped the more powerful VK-2500P engines with FADEC [full authority digital engine control] system instead of the previous Klimov TV3-117VMA engines and improved rotor blades to increase its maximum speed by 13% and cruise speed by 10%.
Last year, the Russian Ministry of Defense approved a plan to upgrade all existing Mi-28Ns to the Mi-28NM standard. The ministry bought more than 80 AS-UAV for that purpose.
The Mi-28NM ability to launch loitering munition, or what is commonly known as suicide or kamikaze drones, is not a secret. The helicopter conducted tests with such munitions before the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. As of now, there is still no clear information on these munitions.