TechRussian helicopter crash near Ukraine underlines wider military issues

Russian helicopter crash near Ukraine underlines wider military issues

Mi-8 - reference image
Mi-8 - reference image
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons

8:39 AM EDT, March 22, 2024

In the city of Rowieńki, Russia, located in Belgorod Oblast and only a few miles from Ukraine, a Russian Mi-8 helicopter crashed, according to EurAsia Daily. The incident was primarily due to a machine failure, and thankfully, all four crew members survived.

The crash near the Ukraine border was caused by two main factors. Primarily, the pilot was at fault for misreading the aircraft's flight position indicator, which malfunctioned and provided incorrect information. Additionally, adverse weather conditions complicated efforts to accurately determine the Mi-8's location in the air. The helicopter met its fate on the morning of March 21, yet the media was only informed about the incident a full day later.

A system failure contributed to the crash

The incident underscores ongoing issues within the Russian maintenance domain, particularly with regards to keeping diverse types of machinery in working order. A similar incident occurred in mid-March when an Il-76 crashed shortly after takeoff, hinting at broader problems with the upkeep of equipment for regular missions. The recent crash near Ukraine might further highlight the deficiencies plaguing the Russian military-industrial complex.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time in 2024 that an Mi-8 has encountered issues. Another helicopter of the same model crashed in Bryansk Oblast at the beginning of January because of an engine failure.

About the Mi-8 helicopter

The Mi-8, known in NATO as "Hip," is a versatile helicopter designed in the 60s. Throughout its history, it has evolved into several models, including those for reconnaissance, mine-laying, and electronic warfare, among others. To date, more than 17,000 units have been produced.

Typically used for transporting troops or cargo, the Mi-8 can carry 24 soldiers and around 4 tons of cargo. It features two Klimov TV2-117 turboshaft engines, each offering 2,000 horsepower, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 155 mph. It has a service ceiling of about 2.8 miles and can travel approximately 280 miles on a single tank of fuel. While its standard armament includes 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns, it is also frequently fitted with electronic warfare systems and B-8V20A rocket pods equipped with S-8 rockets.

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