Mil Mi-24

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Mil Mi-24

Mi-24D Hind-D of the Polish Army.
Description
RoleGunship/Transport
Crew2 (pilot, co-pilot)
First flight 1969
Entered service 1970
ManufacturerMil Moscow Helicopter Plant
Dimensions
Length57 ft 4 in17.5 m
Rotor diameter56 ft 7 in 17.3 m
Height21 ft 3 in6.5 m
Wing span21 ft 3 in 6.5 m
Weights
Empty 18,740 lb8,500 kg
Loaded
Maximum takeoff 26 455 lb12,000 kg
Capacity8 troops or 4 stretchers
Powerplant
EnginesTwo Isotov TV-3 turbines
Power2 x 2,200hp2 x 1,600 MW
Performance
Maximum speed 208 mph335 km/h
Combat range280 miles450 km
Ferry range
Service ceiling14,750 ft4,500 m
Rate of climb
Avionics
Avionics
Armament
Guns12.7 mm YaKB-12.7 Yakushev-Borzov multi-barrel machinegun
Bombs 1,500 kg of bombs
Missiles4x Anti-tank guided missiles
Rockets4x 57 mm rocket pods
Other

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 the 'crocodile'.

Contents

Characteristics

The core of the aircraft was taken from the Mil Mi-8 (NATO reporting name "Hip H"), 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 above the equally characteristic tandem cockpit. Other components of the airframe came from the Mi-14. 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, the Hind can be tasked with close air support, anti-tank operations, aerial combat. The body is heavily armoured and the titanium rotor blades can resist impacts from 12.7 mm rounds. The cockpit is overpressurized to protect the crew in NBC conditions. The craft uses a retractable tricycle undercarriage.

Missing image
Mi-24_2.jpg
Mil Mi-24P (Hind-F)

Problems

The comparatively high size and weight of the Hind limit its endurance and maneuverability. In tight banking turns it can roll alarmingly as the wings lose lift - this was noted during test-flights in 1969 but has still not been entirely eliminated. To counter this vulnerability the Russians operate the aircraft in pairs or larger groups, with attacks carefully coordinated to strike from multiple directions simultaneously. Another weakness was the possibility of the main rotor striking the tail-boom during violent maneuvers. Its high loaded weight can also limit its effectiveness as a helicopter, some reports state that with a full load the Hind needs a rolling take-off and also cannot hover. The problems with the dual-role Hind have prompted the development of the Mil Mi-28 and also the Kamov Ka-50 to replace it in the gunship role.

Combat experience

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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.

The Hind gunships constituted a large number 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 cal rounds, but a single lucky shot to the fuel tank could set the Hind ablaze. Also the Hinds 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 Hinds 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 (indicating a coming airstrike, usually by Hinds considering the ineffective nature of Mig-21s in a ground attack role.) were lit nearby.

The Hind saw considerable use by the Iraqi Army during the long war with their neighbour, its heavy armament causing much death and destruction amongst Iranian ground forces. The Iraqi Hinds also participated in air combat with Iranian AH-1J SeaCobras on several separate occasions, ending favorably for the Iraqis with ten AH-1Js downed by Hinds compared to six Hinds downed by AH-1Js. One Hind even shot down an Iranian F-4 Phantom on 26 October, 1986.

The Hind was used quite successfully by the Sandinista Army during the civil war in the 1980s.

The Hind saw combat in Sri Lanka 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 groups. It is believed that Indian losses were considerably reduced due to the heavy fire support provided by their Hind gunships.

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.

Variants

Missing image
Mi-24_3.jpg
Mi-24P (Hind-F)

Initially modelled on the Bell AH-1 Cobra and borrowing extensively from existing models 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-A) 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 some of these problems. The most common variant is the Mi-24D (Hind-D), a purer gunship than the earlier variants, the first to include the electronics for Anti-tank guided missiles 9M17 Falanga (AT-2 Swatter). Later development led to the Mi-24V (Hind-E) with newer ATGMs (9M114 Kokon, AT-6 Spiral) with tube launchers, and then the Mi-24P (Hind-F), which replaced the 12.7mm machinegun with a fixed 30mm gun.

The newest variant is the 1995 Mi-24VM, with light-weight fibre main and tail rotors to improve all-round performance, 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 Mi24VM is expected to operate until 2015.

Since 1978 around 2,000 Hinds have been manufactured, 600 for export. The U.S. Army operates a number of Hinds in Louisiana for adversary training.


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