The manufacturer plans to provide the Mi-38 with a new Tranzas "glass cockpit" avionics system and new composite main rotor blades. The helicopter is offered with a choice of either Klimov TV7-117V or Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127/TS turboshaft engines. The second prototype, powered by the PW127TS, made its first flight in December 2010. In 2013, the third prototype has been assembled at the Kazan Helicopter Plant.
The Mil Mi-38 prototypes have already set five records in the E1h class. The second prototype aircraft set an altitude record by reaching 8,620 meters (28,280 feet) without a payload. The second and third records were for climbing speed; the Mi-38 reached a height of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) in six minutes, then followed this to reach 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) in 10 minutes and 52 seconds. Two further records were altitude records: the first was set at 7,895 meters (25,902 feet) with a 1,000-kg (2,205-lb) payload, the second at 7,020 meters (23,031 feet) with a 2,000-kg (4,409-lb) payload.