The Mi-4 was designed as a response to the American H-19 Chickasaw and its effective deployment in the Korean war. Design and testing commenced in the early '50s, before being rushed into service in 1953. The Mi-4 would be adapted to many variants and see service with many countries around the world. One such variant was the Mi-4AV variant, where "AV" stands for "атаковать вооруженный" ("Atakovat Vooruzhennyy" — "Assault, Armed"). The Mi-4AV would serve a long and eventful life all around the world, from the orients of China to the deserts of Africa. Much like its American counterpart, after it was gradually phased out of military service, it was used in various domestic roles, including search and rescue, polar expeditioning, construction site cargo helicopter, firefighting, commercial flights, and much more.
The Mi-4AV (NATO reporting name: Hound), was introduced in Update 1.81 "The Valkyries". The Mi-4AV is the starter helicopter for the Soviet tech tree, and at first seems very underwhelming, but can have its bright moments in reality. The Mi-4AV has access to the Falanga ATGM with 4 km of range which in the right scenarios can be very deadly to enemy tanks. Pilots of the Mi-4 must be very careful of the aircraft's underpowered engine and abysmal flight performance: due to being a piston-powered helicopter, the engine is somewhat inadequate at full combat loads, and the helicopter will feel even more sluggish than it already is. This makes the Mi-4AV a very easy target for most radar-guided SPAA at range, due to its inability to dodge incoming fire very easily.
As a first generation transport helicopter, the Mi-4AV is very slow, it is rare for it to reach 200 km/h. Additionally, the Mi-4AV has a poor roll rate. When fully loaded, the performance deteriorates even more, making the helicopter an easy target. Pilots should keep this in mind when choosing the payload.
The newest pilots should not attempt to roll the helicopter more than 35°, since the Mi-4AV is underpowered and cannot handle such manoeuvres. The weight will force the helicopter down (worse when fully loaded) and the main rotor will be unable to sustain the helicopter in this awkward position, making recovery impossible. The risk of stalling is significant, and it is recommended to set the the collective pitch to 80% for cruising, and 100% only when climbing is needed.
It should be noted that even in hover mode, the underpowered engine will start overheating, forcing you to reduce engine power and slowing down the machine even more. Even once fully upgraded, this remains a burden. This is particularly important on hot weather maps such as Sinai or Tunisia.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 500 m)
| Max altitude|
Survivability and armour
Unlike the later helicopters in the Soviet/Russian helicopter tree, the Mi-4AV is essentially a transport helicopter with weapons strapped to it, and it carries no armour plating whatsoever.
The Mi-4AV is also very vulnerable to engine damage because the engine is located in front of the pilot, in the nose of the helicopter. This means that it will often take the majority of the hits from ground fire. Once the already underpowered engine is hit, this will deteriorate the performance even more, to the point where the helicopter may no longer be able to stay in the air. Getting the pilot knocked out is also not an uncommon experience, which will end a game in the Mi-4 very quickly.
The airframe itself is relatively resilient to machine gun fire, although cannons will easily rip the helicopter to shreds. The fuel tanks are self-sealing, but this will be one of the least hit parts on the helicopter.
Modifications and economy
It is highly recommended to prioritise the K4V modification (to increase the amount of missiles carried )and any performance upgrades as soon as possible.
One relatively easy way to use this helicopter is to play on Arcade Assault mode where you can rearm constantly and help your team against waves of enemies AI, while also researching more modules for the more challenging mixed battles. Researching the bombs first will be highly useful against AI units in the Arcade Assault mode, but their use is rather limited in mixed battles. The S-5K rockets are of very limited use against the modern MBTs the AI uses.
Helicopter Enduring Confrontation can allow for greater profit and module research. However, it is risky to fly there, since there are a lot of technologically superior enemies (such as the Ka-50) that will make quick work of the Mi-4 with their long-range guided missiles, giving it little to no chance of survival. It is up to the pilots whether the risk is worth the greater reward.
What the Mi-4AV lacks in performance and durability, it makes up for in armament. Of the Rank V helicopters it is easily the most heavily armed, once fully upgraded, capable of carrying rockets, bombs, and anti-tank missiles.
The Mi-4AV is armed with:
- 1 x 12.7 mm A-12.7 machine gun, nose turret (900 rpg)
The Mi-4AV is armed with a single flexible Afanasev A-12.7 machine gun. This gun has a limited arc of only +- 30° horizontally, -55° and 8° vertically. The gun possesses a decent amount of ammunition (900) and a high rate of fire (1,100 rounds per minute). This machine gun is mostly effective against soft vehicles and ground targets, such as artillery emplacements, armoured cars, trucks, and light vehicles. It lacks the penetration to damage anything heavier than some light tanks' roof armour.
Due to the limited arc and the relatively low calibre, air-to-air engagements relying on this machine gun can be difficult. It works best as a defensive armament against other light and poorly armoured helicopters such as the Franco–German Alouette (Family) and the American Hueys.
The Mi-4AV can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|100 kg FAB-100sv bombs||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|250 kg FAB-250M-46 bombs||1||1||1||1|
|9M17M Falanga missiles||1||1||1||1|
|Maximum permissible weight imbalance: 500 kg|
|Default weapon presets|
The S-5 unguided rockets are available without research. They are not accurate and do not have a large explosive payload. Since it uses a shaped-charge warhead, a direct hit is required in order to damage most enclosed armoured vehicles, and aiming is complicated by the fact that the Mi-4AV does not have a ballistic computer.
The 9M17M Falanga should be considered the main weapon of the Mi-4AV. These missiles are semi-automatic (SACLOS), which means that the pilot does not need to manually fly the missile all the way to the target. It does, however, require that the pilot keep the sight crosshairs on the target in order to ensure a hit. This, in turn, means the helicopter must remain relatively stable, making it a vulnerable target. The Falanga has the longest range of all the anti-tank missiles available to starter helicopters (4 km vs. 3 km for the AS.11), which allows the Mi-4AV to attack while remaining out of reach for most contemporary SPAA. It is also important to note that the Falanga has a minimum effective range of around 500–600 m.
The Mi-4AV is also capable of carrying bombs up to 250 kg in weight. Their use is quite situational because they require the helicopter to fly over the target, which is quite risky in a helicopter as slow and fragile as the Mi-4AV. In Realistic and Simulator battles, a time delay (2–3.5 s) should be set so the Mi-4AV does not damage itself with its bombs.
Usage in battles
Pilots should be aware this helicopter is not made for dedicated CAS (Close air Support), mainly because of some traits such as low top speed, big size, low manoeuvrability and zero countermeasures. Instead consider using it as tactical anti-tank support with mobile capacities around the allied half of the map, where it is far enough from enemy radars and anti-air vehicles.
The pilots must be alert of their surroundings, as they do not want to bring undue notice upon themselves. Ending being downed by a plane is a common situation. Strategy plays key in this helicopters ability to sneak into position, let loose a volley of rockets or zero-in an anti-tank guided missile onto an unsuspecting target. Use structures and terrain to act as shields when possible.
It might be wise to use this helicopter only for ATGM duties in most long open maps, while benefiting from the rocket pods or bombs in close and cramped maps. Stay away from enemy tank packs and hunt light tanks flanking your team on the sides of the map with the rockets pods, or load ATGMs and become an efficient 4 km sniper. Multiple tactics for different maps. Trial and error should be made to ensure self-survival and team victory.
Do not forget to watch for any enemy aircraft spawning and be ready to swiftly return to base. Avoid staying around too much since helicopters are easily noticeable by sound and will be quickly taken down. Consider using this helicopter to control enemy offensives and defend points with ATGMs.
Night battles, is possibly a decent moment to spawn with the Mi-4. Thanks to the NVD equipment, it has the visual upper hand against planes. The darker and the worst visibility, the easier will be for pilots on the Mi-4 to perform daring attacks. Always keeping in mind there are radars on the line, waiting for aerial threats. Stick to the Mi-4's rules of engagement during the daylight and you likely succeed.
Enemies worth noting
Just like it was historically considered, the NATO's tank represent the greater threat to the Soviet helicopter pilots.
- Gepard and Chieftain Marksman: The Marksman anti-air system available on these anti-aircraft is really dangerous on medium-long distances. With powerful radar, high turret rotation speed, and lethal cannons. They can open fire even before soviet pilots cross the horizon of the landscape thanks to their radar fire predictor. This is completely antagonistic for Mi-4's low speed and big size. The best odds is to make them a priority target and let loose a rapid rocket salvo. Their turrets are huge and with low armour, Mi-4's rockets will be capable of a precise dispatch.
- SIDAM 25: This Italian anti-aircraft's 4 cannons are extremely dangerous for your close attacks. They especially deadly on close-medium distances. The small size of this tank compared to other NATO's AAs make it harder to spot and once you get hit, it's unlikely you survive. As with most of the anti-aircraft vehicles, they have poor armour. Use an unguided rockets salvo to make them run for cover or take advantage of the long-range of your Falanga missiles.
- Bradley, Warrior and Begleitpanzer: These American, British, and German IFVs are not only threatening to ground vehicles, but also for low flying aircraft. They are well-armed, they equip a modern system of thermal optics and they are highly mobile. This means they will find helicopters comfortably anywhere on the map during the day or night and attempt to bring them down very hastily with their auto-cannons, ATGMs or time fuzed shells. The stealth and distance element is your best advantage versus them, avoid hurrying into the battle from obvious helicopter spawn points, instead opt for a short flank then get just barely altitude to engage them. Using things like trees and mountains as your reliable cover.
Role in the team
Once the Soviet Mi-4 pilots choose to spawn, there are several points they need to prioritize to actively boost their team during the battle.
- Where on the map are the enemy forces?
- Where on the map our forces need air support? (attempting to capture a zone for example)
- Is one of our capture points in need for defense? (quite often the enemy will even seize allied spawn point)
This will now let pilots ponder about how to engage, race slowly in, or stay far and use the Falanga ATGMs. The prudent tactic is usually to stay far but this may differ on different maps. Their role in the team can go about the ability to spot the threats from a greater and higher angle than the ground forces teammates. Effecting things such as opening a rocket salvo on a quick enemy flanker will enable the team to notice and destroy the threat. If the Mi-4 hasn't yet. The 4 Falanga can be put to good use on skilled hands, defeating 4 enemies with them will surely setback the enemy's spawn points. Mi-4's S-5K can be used to suppress the enemy groups pushing, on urban maps for example. If the battlefield is safe or uncared enough, the helicopter is fully able to capture a distant point by landing inside it. Possibly, coordinate with the allied fixed-wing aviation for a multi-directional attack on the opponent's anti-aircraft locations.
Spawning, closing in, sighting, and engaging targets then retreating to then repeat. This all should be potential tactics to survive and actively support the team during the battle.
Also remember that;
- Despite the natural difficulties of the mode, Simulator mode is greatly rewarding due to the stealth element. Situationally allows to execute a more offensive close approach.
- The pilots should promote the habit of checking for enemy planes up before spawning. This will avoid imminent annihilation by enemy planes already on air.
- A group of Mi-4 is more like to survive than a single Mi-4. Don't be irresolute to call for backups or communicate with your teammates for a coordinated attack.
Pros and cons
- Excellent payload options compared to other Rank V helicopters.
- Falanga missiles can outrange cannon-based SPAA.
- 12.7 mm turret machine gun can be fired in the ATGM shooter view.
- Relatively durable airframe.
- Comes with ATGM stock not requiring it to be researched like other starter helicopters
- No armour or bullet-proof glass.
Huge, slow and not very manoeuvrable.
- Missile tracking field-of-view is quite narrow.
- Critical components (cockpit, engine, motor, and oil cooler) located close together
- No sight gyro-stabilization system for simulator modes.
- No ballistic computer.
The Soviet Army Aviation owes its emergence mostly to the transport landing helicopter Mi-4. The Mi-4 paved the way for helicopter usage in the Soviet national armed forces.
The Korean War was the main impetus in which provided the need for a Mi-4 helicopter which started its official development in the early 1950s. At the time, the American military was widely using helicopters as a force multiplier which enabled troops to advance and reinforce areas much quicker than when travelling by vehicle or more to a pinpoint location without needing finding or building an airfield. Through the use of helicopters, rapid and large scale operations became a possibility that had yet to be exploited to its fullest. At this time, the Americans were using different types of helicopters to do various tasks, depending on what payload was needed. Light helicopters were used for duties such as taking wounded back to hospitals, means of communication and spotters for artillery units. More massive helicopters were utilised for delivering troops, vehicles, supplies and artillery directly to the battlefield. The Korean War demonstrated the increased need for a role which rotor vehicles could fulfil within the Armed Forces.
Once realising their folly of not developing helicopters for inclusion in the armed forces, Soviet leadership decided they needed to make up for lost time and get to work designing and building their helicopter force. In October 1951, the leading aviation designers of the Soviet Union were called to the Kremlin. As a result of the meeting, tasks for developing new rotor vehicles were given to the aviation designers. Here, the Mil Design Bureau specifically was assigned to the designing and creating a landing-transport helicopter which could carry up to 12 persons. Quick work was needed because experimental models were required to be ready for trials one year after receiving this assignment.
Mikhail Mil began to work on a solution; however, unbeknownst to many, he already had a head start on this project which he called the VD-12 or Vertolyot Desantniy (a landing helicopter) which was designed to hold 12 persons. The design of Mikhail Mil's had been around since the end of the 40s. However, it never went anywhere because nobody was willing to support the project at the time. The lack of support extended from the military through the highest leadership in the country because they did not understand the battlefield benefits this tool would provide their soldiers. It wasn't until the Soviets were spectators in the Korean War that they saw firsthand the effectiveness of helicopters on the battlefield.
Initially the VD-12 was designed to receive a 1,000 HP engine; however, when the helicopter was ready to begin construction and to receive it, the engine was determined not to be ready for the deadline trials. Mil was then required to redesign the VD-12 to accept a more powerful and heavy engine, the Ash-82 developed by Arkadiy Shevetsov which was a couple of generations newer than the Ash-73TK utilised on the Tu-4 bomber. This piston engine had proven itself an excellent engine when employed on various aeroplanes. To accept this new engine, the helicopter needed to be enlarged to adequately encompass it. Yakovlev DB had intended on providing the rotor, main rotor head, wobble plate, reduction gear and engine for the project, however that was for the smaller VD-12 and all that had to be scrapped for the newer and larger helicopter. Igor Sikorsky developed the S-55 (H-19) which was very similar in size and layout, and Mil decided to model the more modern and larger helicopter off of the aspects of the S-55 which applied to his larger helicopter. The Radial engine was placed in the front nose with the drive shaft passing through the cockpit and turning the rotor, which left the lower section of the helicopter to be a large cargo cabin. Again the cabin needed to be able to hold 12 troops or various military equipment which weighed up to 1,600 kg.
With this plan in action, designers were working almost around the clock to complete the schematics. Within four months of the project starting, the prototype was rolled out of the hanger and prepped for flight. With the radial engine firing, the rotor began to spin, however during acceleration of the motor; the blades started to bend severely, threatening to break apart and destroy the helicopter. The rotor was powered down, and the minds went to work attempting to figure out what the issue was. Mil settled on the problem being the rotors fluttering, which for aircraft surfaces bending or flexion which causes material fatigue and the parts disintegrate thus destroying the entire project. To validate this theory, special weights were built in one night and then installed on the blades. A repeat of the experiment was conducted, and the rotor behaved in a manner it needed to work correctly. Further testing created a blade which was constructed to eliminate any flutter.
Seven months after receiving their assignment to develop and build a helicopter, the first helicopter trials were ready to begin. While the first test had the helicopter tethered to the ground to prevent any mishaps, on the 3rd of June, Vsevolod Vinnitskiy made the first free flight in the new helicopter. At this point, the VD-12 was the most significant and most massive lifting helicopter in the World. With the completion of the state's trials, the VD-12 began mass production, and its name was changed to Mi-4 and was introduced into service the next year.
In many ways the Mi-4 surpassed the US helicopter H-19's capabilities as the rear of the Mi-4 could open up and through the use of a ramp, men, vehicles and artillery could quickly be loaded and unloaded. Also installed under the nose of the helicopter was a gunner position with a 12.7 mm machine gun. The Soviet military found many uses for the new helicopter beyond just transporting people and equipment, and as more equipment was outfitted, the helicopter also took on roles such as ground attack and submarine hunter. More than 3,000 Mi-4 helicopters were produced during its years in service and proved to be an essential force multiplier on the battlefield for the Soviet Armed Forces.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
|Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant|
|Mi-8AMTSh · Mi-8TV|
|Mi-24A · Mi-24P · Mi-24V|
|Mi-28N · Mi-28NM|
|▂Mi-24D · ◔Mi-24D · ◔Mi-24V · ◔Mi-24P · ◊Mi-24P · ◄Mi-24P HFS 80|
|Hip||Mi-8AMTSh · Mi-8TV|
|Hind||Mi-24A · ▂Mi-24D · Mi-24P · Mi-24V · Mi-35M|
|Havoc||Mi-28N · Mi-28NM|
|Hokum||Ka-50 · Ka-52|