The Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters that Algeria has ordered will have dual controls, the Interfax news agency cited a source in Russia's arms export structures as saying on 18 March.
The source said the dual-control variant had been specifically developed for Algeria and that the North African country has ordered about 40 Mi-28NEs. The Russian media has previously reported that Algeria ordered 42 Mi-28NE attack helicopters.
Russian Helicopters announced on 16 March that its Rostvertol plant had begun mass production of dual-control Mi-28NEs but did not identify the customer.
It said all the controls are duplicated in the new version, meaning both crew members can operate the weapon and countermeasures, as well as fly the helicopter.
Journalists were shown a Mi-28NE with dual controls when they visited Rostvertol plant on 16 March. On that day the TASS news agency quoted Rostvetol's deputy managing director Vadim Barannikov as saying that the Russian Ministry of Defence was expected to order a dual-control Mi-28UB training variant in the near future that will be similar to the dual-control Mi-28NE export version.
Algeria will be the third Mi-28N operator after Iraq and Russia. Barannikov said "two or three" other countries are currently in negotiations to buy the attack helicopter and that the new dual-control version should help attract more customers.