TechRussia steps up its retaliation, successfully targets Ukrainian helicopters

Russia steps up its retaliation, successfully targets Ukrainian helicopters

Russian attack on Ukrainian helicopters
Russian attack on Ukrainian helicopters
Images source: © X, @wolski_jaros
5:44 PM EDT, March 17, 2024

In recent events, the Russians have intensified their retaliation against the Ukrainians, following notable aviation losses. An online video demonstrates their successful strike on a group of Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters. The question arises: what weaponry was employed in this assault?

Throughout February, Ukraine augmented its aerial arsenal with notable acquisitions, including 10 Su-34 bombers, several Su-35 fighters, and a critically important A-50 early warning and control aircraft. Nonetheless, it's evident that Russia retains air supremacy, boasting a significantly larger fleet of diverse military units. For Ukraine, the loss of each aircraft and helicopter is profoundly impactful, underscored by the recent downing of several units.

Attack on Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters

The attack, occurring in the Zaporizhzhia region, captured the attention of defense analyst Jarosław Wolski, who discussed it on the X platform. He observed a marked improvement in the performance of the Russian reconnaissance-strike complex compared to the onset of the conflict in Ukraine. Wolski drew attention to the tactics deployed by the attackers.

He suggests that the offensive likely involved a cluster munition projectile, presumably launched from the Tornado system. This initial strike damaged the Ukrainian helicopters, which were then targeted with precision ammunition for a conclusive hit. Footage of the incident reveals the elimination of two Ukrainian helicopters and significant damage to a third, albeit not preventing its pilots from escaping.

Capabilities of Mi-8 helicopters

The Mi-8 helicopter, known as "Hip" by NATO, is a Soviet-designed aircraft with origins tracing back to the 1960s. Its durability and versatility have made it a staple in the ongoing Ukraine conflict, serving both factions. Primarily designed for troop and civilian transport, it has also been adapted for more specialized roles, including VIP transport, fuel delivery, and even minefield operations.

Measuring over 82 feet in length with a rotor diameter of 71.85 feet, the Mi-8 can carry approximately 30 soldiers or up to 8818.5 pounds of cargo. Its maximum operational speed reaches 155 mph, and it can ascend to about 14763.8 feet. Moreover, the Mi-8 is equipped for combat, typically armed with machine guns of 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm calibres. Certain models boast an enhanced armory, including electronic warfare capabilities and mounts for anti-tank missiles like the 9M17P Scorpion and 9M14 Malutka.

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