In the landing variant the Mi-26 is carrying 82 soldiers or 68 paratroopers. Special equipment allowed to turn a helicopter into the ambulance one for a few hours to transport 60 wounded on stretchers and three accompanying medical workers.
It reads “Seat of a medical worker”.
Eight main fuel tanks with total capacity of 12,000 liters were placed under the cargo floor of the fuselage. Four more fuel tanks for 14,800 litres can be mounted in the cargo compartment. Fuel tanks and engines are protected by armor.
For the first time in the history of helicopter building the main rotor has eight blades.
Mi-26 has a tricycle landing gear and a retractable tail wheel. For convenient handling the clearance of the main undercarriage can be adjusted.
In 1983 Mi-26 started to be supplied to combat regiments and squadrons. Soon the became the favorite vehicles. It started to be used for combat purposes in Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Chechnya, Dagestan. It showed itself as a reliable and often irreplacable vehicle.
Mi-26 was also helping to fight fires and during disasters. In 1986 the helicopters were used for liquidation of the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident.