The armed forces of Ukraine are set to domestically upgrade their Mil Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, now that country of origin Russia is no longer the biggest friend. Sources within the Defence Industry have provided some details of the upgrading program. Funds will come partly from donations of tens of millions of dollar made by Ukrainian companies and individuals after the country came to a stand-off with Russia when Moscow took control over the Crimea peninsula in March 2014.
The Ukrainian Army officially flies about 46 Mil Mi-24P/V/PM Hind attack helicopters, but the estimated number of aircraft that are actually airworthy is estimated at no more than 20. Three of them serve in Africa painted all white: two support the UN troops in the DR Congo since several months, a third deployed to Liberia on 26 March 2014 to aid the UN forces in that country. That leaves about 17 fully active Hinds at home. We at AIRheads↑Fly believe that now first some of the other 16 of the 46 Hinds will be upgraded to what is unofficially known as the Mi-24PU1 standard – with the U standing for Ukraine of course – to strengthen the front-line forces.
To increase the Hind’s capabilities Ukraine locally produced, more powerful engines will be built in. A new satcom is added and as well as a defensive suite we believe. Moreover the laser target finder and guiding system will be upgraded to accommodate the use of precision guided weapons – even in adversary weather conditions and at night.
The new Ukrainian Army Hinds will be able to fire anti-aircraft missiles and can carry up to eight guided anti-tank missiles that are said to be able to hit armour 5 miles away. The Mi-24PU1s primary weapon system will be the gun, believed to be a double-barreled 23 millimetre GSh-23 able to fire 3000 to 3400 rounds per minute. Although an Ukrainian source says an improved 2x 30-millimitre version will be installed able to sent 4000 rounds a minute to a target.
Simultaneously with the Ukrainian Army upgrading its Mi-24s, the Ukrainian Air Force is trying to get as many of its long-stored MiG-29s back into action. With Ukraine trying to find a new and complicated independence from its powerful neighbour Russia, indigenous modernisation programs like of the Hind might be the corner stone of not only creating a more military independence, but also of creating new business opportunities for its own industry.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger