One Helicopter's History

Below is a Wikipedia page on one kind of helicopter. I read it after seeing this video, an amazing one with these copters in formation. Being a fan of aircraft, I thought I would find out what a HIND was.

What I didn't know was how many wars there had actually been since 1977 - test yourself - how many of the wars mentioned below do you remember?

As you read below, all the work, engineering, sweat, brainpower that went into this one helicopter, think for a moment if one tenth of that energy went into manufacturing products and means for peace.


Mil Mi-24

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Type
Attack helicopter
Manufacturer
Mil
Maiden flight
1970
Introduced
1974
Status
Active
Primary users
Russian Army
ca. 50 other users
Number built
2000 (estimated)
Developed from
Mil Mi-8
Variants
Mil Mi-28


The Mil Mi-24 is a large combat helicopter gunship and low-capacity troop transport operated from 1976 by the Soviet Air Force, its successors, and over thirty other nations.
Its NATO reporting name is Hind and variants are identified with an additional letter. The export versions, Mi-25 and Mi-35, are denoted as Hind D and Hind E respectively. Soviet pilots called the aircraft 'letayushiy tank' or flying tank. Another common nickname is 'Krokodil' (Crocodile) — due to the helicopter's camouflage and fuselage shape.

Characteristics

The core of the aircraft was taken from the Mil Mi-8 (NATO reporting name "Hip"), two top mounted turboshaft engines driving a mid-mounted 17.3 m five-blade main rotor and a three blade tail rotor. The engine positions give the aircraft its distinctive double air intake. Versions D and above include a characteristic tandem cockpit with a "double bubble" canopy. Other components of the airframe came from the Mi-14 "Haze". Weapon hardpoints are provided by two short mid-mounted wings (which also provide lift), each offering three stations. The load-out mix is mission dependent; they can be tasked with close air support, anti-tank operations, or aerial combat. The body is heavily armored and the titanium rotor blades can resist impacts from .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rounds. The cockpit is overpressurized to protect the crew in NBC conditions. The craft uses a retractable tricycle undercarriage. As a combination gunship and troop transport, the Hind has no direct NATO counterpart.

Combat history


The first use of the Mi-24 in combat was with the Ethiopian forces during the Ogaden War against the Somalis. The helicopters formed part of a massive airlift of military equipment from the Soviet Union, after the Soviets switched sides towards the end of 1977. The helicopters were instrumental in the combined air and ground assault that expelled all Somali forces from Ethiopian soil by the beginning of 1978.

The Mi-24 saw extensive use of Mi-24A by the Vietnam People's Air Force. The gunships destroyed many Khmer Rouge bases and outposts up until 1986 when KR forces were driven to the border of Thailand.

The aircraft was operated extensively during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, mainly for bombing Mujahideen fighters. The US supplied heat-seeking Stinger missiles to the Mujahideen, and the Soviet Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters proved to be favorite targets of the rebels.
The Hind gunships constituted a part of the 333 helicopters lost during combat operations in Afghanistan, an unknown number to ground fire. The cockpit was heavily armoured and could withstand even .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rounds, but the Hind's tail is extremely vulnerable due to the lack of armour in that section.
The heat-seeking nature of the anti-aircraft weapons employed by the Mujahideen combined with the Hind's exhaust being directly under the main rotor caused the aircraft to disintegrate if hit. This was remedied later by countermeasure flares and a missile warning system being installed into all Soviet Mi-4, Mi-8, and Mi-24 helicopters giving the pilot a chance to evade the missile or crash-land.
During this conflict, the Hind proved effective and very reliable, earning the respect of both Soviet pilots and the Mujahideen, who scattered as quickly as possible when Soviet target designation flares were lit nearby. The Mujahideen nicknamed the Mi-24 as the "Devil's Chariot" due to its notorious reputation. One Afghan rebel said one famous quote "We do not fear the Soviets. We fear their helicopters."

The Hind saw considerable use by the Iraqi Army during the long war with their neighbour, Iran. Its heavy armament was a key factor in causing severe damage to Iranian ground forces. This war saw the only confirmed air-to-air helicopter battles in history with the Iraqi Hinds flying against Iranian AH-1J SeaCobras (supplied by the United States before the Iranian revolution) on many separate occasions.

Hinds were also used by the Sandinista Army during the civil war of the 1980s.

The Indian Peace Keeping Force (1987-1990) in Sri Lanka used Hinds when an Indian Air Force detachment was deployed there in support of the Indian and Sri Lankan armed forces in their fight against various Tamil fighter groups such as the LTTE. It is believed that Indian losses were considerably reduced due to the heavy fire support provided by their Hind gunships. The Indians lost no Hinds in the operation, as the Tigers had no weapons that could deal with the Crocodile at the time.
From November 14, 1995 to the present, the Sri Lanka Air Force has used Mi-24s in their continuing war with the LTTE. Currently the Sri Lanka Air Force operates a mixture of Mi-24/-35P and Mi-24V/-35 versions. Some have recently been upgraded with modern Israeli FLIR and Electronic Warfare systems. Due to LTTE MANPADS at least three of them have been lost.

The Hind was again employed heavily by Iraqis during their invasion of Kuwait, although most were withdrawn by Saddam Hussein when it became apparent that he would need them to retain his grip on power in the aftermath of the war. A few examples later were sent over the border into Iran, along with many other Iraqi military aircraft in the hope of temporarily preventing them from being destroyed by allied air strikes. However, as with the other Iraqi aircraft, the Iranians kept them and used them in their own service.

First shown in Croatia 1993, 12 Mi-24 were efficiently used by Croatian army in Operation Storm 1995 against Serbian part of ex Yugoslavia army JNA and paramilitants of the Krajina army.

During both wars in the Russian republic of Chechnya, beginning in 1994 and 1999 respectively, Mi-24s were employed by the Russian armed forces. As with Afghanistan, however, the Mi-24s were vulnerable to rebel tactics. Dozens are believed to have been shot down or crashed during military operations. A contributing cause to these crashes is the poor maintenance given to these aging helicopters.

The Serbian Police special forces (JSO) used 2 Mi-24s against KLA forces.

The Sudanese air force acquired six Mi-24's in 1995 which were used in Southern Sudan and the Nuba mountains to engage the SPLA. At least two aircraft were lost within the first year of operation while not in combat, but may have been replaced. A further twelve were bought in 2001 and used extensively in the oilfields of Southern Sudan. Mi-24's were also deployed to Darfur in 2004-2005.

One and later three Mi-24Vs flown by South African mercenaries were used against the RUF rebels. In 1995, they helped drive the RUF from the capital, Freetown.

Three Mi-24s were used by Mobutu's army and later taken over by the new Congolese air force. Also Zimbabwean Hinds were operated on behalf of the Congolese army.

The Macedonian armed forces used the Mi-24V, which were supplied by Ukraine, against Albanian fighters.
5 Mil Mi-24 Hinds piloted by mercenaries were used in support of government forces. They were later destroyed by the French Army in retaliation for an air attack on a French base which killed 9 soldiers.

This UN peace keeping mission employed the Mi-25/-35 helicopters from the Indian Air Force to give support to the mission. The IAF has been operating in the region since 2003.

The Polish contingent in Iraq has been using six Mi-24Ds since December 2004. One of them crashed on 18 July 2006 in an air base in Al Diwaniyah. After end of the mission Poland will probably transfer the aircraft to the Iraqi Army.

The Ethiopian Air Force has about 3 Mil Mi-35 and 10 Mil Mi-24D helicopter gunships operating in Somalia. One was shot down near the Mogadishu International Airport on March 30,2007 by Islamic insurgents. The Ethiopian Forces are currently withdrawing thier troops out of Somalia.

Variants

The Hind went from drawing board in 1968 to first test-flights in less than eighteen months. First models were delivered to the armed forces for evaluation in 1970. The Mi-24A (Hind-B) did have a number of problems - lateral roll, weapon sighting problems, and limited field of view for the pilot. A heavy redesign of the aircraft front section solved most of these problems.
  • V-24 (Hind) - The first version of this helicopter, were twelve prototypes and development aircraft. One such prototype was modified in 1975 as A-10 for successful speed record attempts (having reached 368km/h) with wings removed and faired over and with inertia-type dampers on the main rotor head.
  • Mi-24 (Hind-A) - Other early versions were the armed assault helicopter, which could carry eight combat troops and three crew members. It could also carry four 57-mm rocket pods on four underwing pylons, four 9M17 Falanga (AT-2 Swatter) anti-tank missiles on two underwing rails, free-fall bombs, plus one 12.7-mm machine-gun in the nose. The Mi-24 (Hind-A) was the first production model.
  • Mi-24A (Hind-B) - The Hind-A was followed up by the second production model the. Both the Mi-24 and Mi-24A entered Soviet Air Force service in 1973 or 1974. Lacks the four-barrel 12.7mm machine gun under the nose.
  • Mi-24U (Hind-C) - Training version without any armament.
  • Mi-24D (Hind-D) - The most common variant, a purer gunship than the earlier variants, the first to include the electronics for anti-tank guided missiles 9M17 Falanga (AT-2 Swatter). The Mi-24D has a redesigned forward fuselage, with two separate cockpits for the pilot and gunner. It is armed with a single 12.7-mm four-barrel machine-gun under the nose. It can carry four 57-mm rocket pods, four 9M17 Falanga (AT-2 Swatter) anti-tank missiles, plus bombs and other weapons.
  • Mi-24DU - Small numbers of Mi-24Ds were built as training helicopters with doubled controls.
  • Mi-24V (Hind-E) - Later development led to the Mi-24V which was first seen in the early 1980s. It armed with newer ATGMs, like the (9M114 Shturm, AT-6 Spiral) with tube launchers. Eight of those missile are mounted on four outer wing pylons.
  • Mi-24P (Hind-F) - The gunship version, which replaced the 12.7mm machine-gun with a fixed 30-mm cannon.
  • Mi-24RKR (Hind-G1) - NBC reconnaissance model, which is designed to collect radiation, biological and chemical samples. It was first seen during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Also known as the Mi-24R, Mi-24RR and Mi-24RKh (Rch).
  • Mi-24K (Hind-G2) : Army reconnaissance, artillery observation helicopter.
  • Mi-24VM - upgraded Mi-24V with updated avionics to improve night-time operation, new communications gear, shorter and lighter wings, and updated weapon systems to include support for the Ataka, Shturm and Igla-V missiles and a 23 mm main gun. Other internal changes have been made to increase the aircraft life-cycle and ease maintenance. The Mi-24VM is expected to operate until 2015
  • Mi-24PM - upgraded Mi-24P using same technologies as in Mi-24VM.
  • Mi-24PN - The Russian military has selected this upgraded Mi-24 to be their primary attack helicopter. The PN version has a TV and a FLIR camera located in a dome on the front of the aircraft. Other modifications include using the rotor blades and wings from the Mi-28 and fixed rather than retractable landing gear. The Russians received 14 Mi-24PNs in 2004 and plan on eventually upgrading all of their Mi-24s.
  • Mi-24PS : Civil police or para-military version.
  • Mi-24E : Environmental research version.
  • Mi-25 - The export version of the Mi-24D.
  • Mi-35 - The export version of the Mi-24V.
  • Mi-24W : Polish designation for the Mi-24V.
  • Mi-35P - The export version of the Mi-24P.
  • Mi-35U - Unarmed training version of the Mi-35.
  • Mi-24 SuperHind Mk II - Modern western avionics upgrade produced by South African company Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE).
  • Mi-24 SuperHind Mk III/IV - Extensive operational upgrade of the original Mi-24 including weapons, avionics and counter measures.
  • Mi-24 Afghanistan field modifications - Passenger compartment armour and exhaust suppressors were often removed. Due to accidental firing while switching sides the door gunner was given both a port and starboard gun. Reloads for the rocket pods to allow self-reloading at the battlefield and also heavy weapons for self defence were often carried.

Operators

Since 1978 around 2,000 Hinds have been manufactured, 600 for export.

Specifications (Mi-24)

Armament

Internal guns: - flexible 12.7 mm YaKB-12.7 Yakushev-Borzov Gatling gun on most variants
- fixed GSh-30K on the Mi-24P/VP
- flexible GSh-23L on the Mi-24VP
- PKT door mounted machine gunsExternal stores: - Total payload is 1500kg of external stores.
- Inner hardpoints can carry at least 500kg
- Outer hardpoints can carry up to 250kgs
- Wing-tip pylons can only carry the 9M17 Phalanga in the Mi-24A-D and the 9K114 Shturm complex in the Mi-24V-F.Bomb-load: - All bombs within weight range ZAB, FAB, RBK, ODAB etc.
- MBD-4 multiple ejector racks with 4xFAB-100
- KGMU2V submunition/mine dispensersFirst generation armament (standard production Mi-24D): - GUV-8700 gunpod (with a 12.7mm YakB + 2x7.62mm GshG combination or one AGS-17)
- UB-16 and UB-32 S-5 rocket launchers
- S-24 240mm rocket
- R-60 (twin rail launchers)
- 9M17 Phalanga (a pair on each wingtip pylon)
Second generation armament (Mi-24V and upgrades): - UPK-23-250 gunpod carrying the GSh-23L
- S-25 350mm rockets
- B-8V20 a lightweight long tubed helicopter version of the S-8 rocket launcher
- UB-13 S-13 rocket launcher
- 9M39 Igla missile 2-4 tubes per launcher
- 9K114 Shturm in pairs on the outer and wingtip pylonsOther: - In foreign service other weapons have sometimes been converted for use
- Modern prototypes can carry the 9K121 Vikhr (Ukrainian prototypes), 9M120 Ataka-V (Mil prototypes), R-73 and a variety of semi-active laser guided rockets and missiles.
- Early variants had holes in the cargo doors so that infantry could fire assault rifles (much like on Soviet APCs from that period). These were removed from later production. Sometimes a door gunner was added in the field.
- During the war in Afghanistan, additional hand-held weapons were carried internally for crew self defence if shot down. Extra rounds of rocket ammunition were often carried so that the crew could land and self-reload in the field.

Records

The records for speed, climb, and altitude set in 1975 were set by a female crew.

References

External links


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Last updated on Thursday April 05, 2007 at 04:01:33 PDT (GMT -0700)
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