The Mi-26 is a twin-engine heavy transport helicopter designed and manufactured by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Russia, for both military and civilian roles. Helicopter stands roughly the same height as a three-story building and its rotors have the same span as the wings of an Airbus A320. Since its first flight in 1977, the Mi-26, also known as the Halo, has been a stalwart in the ultra-heavy lift industry. About 276 Mi-26 helicopters are currently in service worldwide.
This type helicopters are unique in their transportation capabilities and are used for mobile delivery of troops, including oversize equipment. Mi-26is intended for all sorts of operations: transportation, evacuation, fire fighting etc. Powered by a pair of 11,000 horsepower turboshaft engines, the Mi-26 and its five-man crew can transport up to 44,000 pounds of cargo at once. The Halo's power and payload capacity is more than twice that of the U.S Army's workhorse CH-47 Chinook helicopter. According to Avia-Russia, military versions can carry as many as 90 combat ready troops, or 63 seated civilians, or even 60 stretchers; putting the helicopter's performance on par with the legendary Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport plane.
The Halo can fly at a maximum speed of 295 km/h and a cruise speed of 255 km/h. The range and service ceiling of the helicopter is 1,952 km and 4,600 m respectively, while its hover ceiling is 1,700 m. The helicopter weighs around 28,200 kg and its maximum take-off weight is 56,000 kg. The Mi-26 is designed to increase flight safety and reliability. It also reduces the workload of the flight crew, the mission planning time and the total operational cost.