Helicopter: Mil Mi-4ME (NATO: Hound-C)
A radar-equipped version of the Mi-4 for anti-submarine warfare, the first such helicopter in Polish naval aviation.
n 1953, the Mil OKB 329 Experimental and Construction Bureau got engaged in the development on an anti-submarine helicopter. The designation WM-12 was reserved for it, however the aircraft entered service in 1955 as the Mi-4M. The helicopter's desgin was based on the Mi-4 and the Mi-4A variant. The Mi-4M was intended for the defence of naval bases against attack from the sea and to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface vessels. The crew consisted of two pilots and a navigator-operator.
Several changes, made necessary by the new radio equipment, were introduced into the design. A bomb bay with a bomb cassette was built-in. The ventral gunner station was replaced by a nacelle for navigator, an operating radar, a magnetometer and a bomb sight. The nacelle could be dropped in emergency. A radar station was placed in front under the nose. At the end of the fuselage, a magnetometer aerial, lowered by a small hand operated (later electrical) crank, were placed.
Due to the helicopter's limited payload, two machines were required to conduct a combat mission. One, acting as a submarine spotter, was equipped with hydro acoustic buoys (the "Baku" system). The other was to attack enemy targets and was armed with depth charges.
The Mi-4 anti-submarine searching equipment fared rather poorly. It was caused by the helicopter's high level noise in the crew stations, high construction vibrations and lack of radar equipment appropriate shielding. In 1959 "Klazma" lowered hydroacoustic station was introduced. In 1961–1962 it was delivered to naval aviation units. Its low efficiency, large mass and troublesome maintenance made it reach the stores instead of helicopter boards. Worse still, the Mi-4M offered little for its crew in terms of survival in case of emergency water landing. If it came to this, the helicopter just turned over and sunk rapidly, leaving the crew no time to escape.
In 1964, based on the Mi-4M, an export derivative was developed under a designation Mi-4ME. Poland bought 4 examples, which were operated by No. 28 Navy Rescue Squadron and formed an ASW flight. After they were withdrawn an Mi-4ME number 617 was donated to the Museum.