The Defense Ministry wants up to 100 Mi-8 "Terminator" helicopters specially modified for service under the recently formed Arctic Command, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov was quoted by news agency TASS as saying Tuesday.
The order size may depend on how well five test helicopters perform in trials. "Today we have the first helicopter [on the shop floor]...we'll see how it handles," Borisov said. Flight tests for the Arctic Terminator will begin later this year, TASS reported.
The armored assault transport helicopter is but one of a number of specialized vehicles the military hopes to procure for its Arctic forces, which Russia has been steadily building up since last year.
The Arctic's uniquely inhospitable conditions require vehicles, helicopters in particular, to be modified to operate in up to -50 degrees celsius, with strong winds and other extreme weather conditions.