An Afghan Air Force Mil (Russian Helicopters) Mi-17 (“Hip”) medium-lift helicopter crashed on 6 August, killing five crew members and 12 troops on board. The crash and loss of life have been confirmed by the Afghan Ministry of Defence, but the type of rotary wing has officially not been disclosed yet.
However, the Mi-17 is the only chopper in the Afghan Air Force that is able to carry the number of personnel mentioned, as we believe a few older similar Mi-8s are no longer flyable. The helicopter went down in the Zabul province, in the south of the country. No details have been released on the mission that was being executed by the crew and pilots. Preliminary Kabul blames a technical failure for the crash.
Providing the Afghan National Army with its wings, the Afghan Air Force has at least 87 Mil Mi-17s, many delivered over the last couple of years as part of a re-weaponize program led by the United States, after internationally backed US Armed Forces invaded the country hunting for both the terrorist organisations behind the September 2011 attacks in New York and Washington, as well as the Taleban fighters destabilizing Afghanistan.
The Mi-17s (NATO-codename Hip) are not only used for regular transport, but provide medical evacuation (medevac) as well as insert/extract special forces.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Afghan Air Force Mi-17 takes off from Kabul Airport (Image © Master Sgt. Keith Brown / USAF)