The Mil Mi-34 (NATO designation “Hermit”) is a light utility and training helicopter developed and produced by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. So named after legendary helicopter designer Mikhail Mil.
Today Mil, Kamov and Rostvertol all make up the Oboronprom corporation, although the strong brand identity of Mil has been kept.
The need to replace the Mi-1 and Mi-2 helicopters was already being addressed in the 1960s. Which is when the design work that would lead directly to the Hermit began. The Mi-34 was first flown late in 1986 and was introduced at the 1987 Paris airshow. Production only started much later though, in 1993.
The Mi-34 comes in either a two-seater or four-seater configuration. Thanks to its aerobatic abilities, which includes loops and rolls, it is an excellent choice for pilot training. In fact, at the time the Mi-34 was the smallest helicopter in the Mil stable and the first Soviet helicopter capable of loops and rolls.
The Hermit is powered by a 325 horsepower nine-cylinder radial engine made by Vedeneyev (model M14P).
There are however many variants of the Mi-34, such as the turbine-powered Mi-34S2 Sapsan. Most of the proposed variants have however failed to enter production. These variants represent major upgrades to the Mi-35, including having twin turbine engines and accommodating up to six passengers. Whether any of these variant design will see the light of day remains to be seen.
The Mi-34 remains in production to day and is put to use by customers such as the Moscow Police Department.