Tag Archives: Mi-35

‘Anonymous’ Russian Sukhois fly in Syria

The day after Russia ‘officially’ started combat mission over Syria, the first clear images of the various fighter aircraft at Latakia airbase have started to appear. Most notable thing on those images: the Russian identification markings on the Sukhois have disappeared, including the Russian red start and the aircraft’s serial numbers.

Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” ground attack aircraft, Su-24 “Fencer” bombers, Su-30 Flanker multi-role fighters and Su-34 Fullback bombers started arriving in Syria over a week ago. Mil Mi-24 and/or Mi-35 Hinds attack helos are also present, as well as Mi-17 Hip assault helicpters.

The military aircraft started operations this week, with Western watchers wondering what targets exactly the Russians are aiming at. Despite Moscow claiming to fight ISIS, the 28 to 34 aircraft Russia has moved to Syria apparently also target other groups opposing the current Assad government. Reports have come in of bombing in areas that Western intelligence services claim have no ISIS activity whatsoever.

The short term ‘good’ thing about it for Western nations and their allies is that Russian aircraft seem to concentrate their bombings in the western parts of Syria, where there is less activity by the many fighter jets of the US-led Operations Inherent Resolve that engage ISIS forces further away from the Syrian coast and the capital Damascus.

The removal of markings could very well be to help deniability when one of the planes get shot down – ironically a very real possibility given the large umber of Russia-supplied air defense weapons in the area, not to mention Western aircraft flying around also.

The Russians are known to remove nationality markings in sensitive surroundings, like earlier in Eastern Ukraine. And ‘sensitive’ surely describes the current situation in and over Syria.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest and Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Su-34 bomber from the October 2014 batch (Image © Sukhoi Company)

Final Brazilian Hinds operational as of now

The final of three Mil Mi-35 delivered by Russia in November to the Brazilian Air Force has been declared officially operational on 9 February.

The 2nd Squadron (Poti) started flying the AH-2 Sabre, as it is called locally, from Porto Velho Airbase in the skies over the Western Amazon region. The unit now has all 12 attack helicopters at its disposal for tasks that vary from air defence, to attack, escort, suppression of enemy air defence, armed reconnaissance and close air support.

It took a while to reassemble the final three. They came in parts on board an Antonov An-124 on 26 November 2014. The work to get them up and running was done by a combined Russian-Brazilian technical / maintenance team.

Source: Força Aérea Brasileira
Featured image: A Brazilian Hind, called AH-2 Sabre locally. The country received its first Mi-35M Hinds in April 2010. (Image © Ralph Blok)

↑ Check out more of Ralph Blok’s amazing photos

Czech to retain 56 combat aircraft in 2015

The Czech Air Force keeps its active combat fleet on 56 aircraft in 2015, the Czech Ministry of Defence acknowledged.

Spearhead of the force are 14 SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen multi-role fighters, supported by 25 indigenous-developed Vodochody L-159 ALCAs. This brings the total fixed-wing combat aircraft fleet to 39. Closer to the ground 17 Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters provide a key function on the battlefield, giving the Czech a strenght of 56 aircraft.

Check this out: ↑ Press Play: Czech Gripens GoPro over Iceland

Besides the combat aircraft the Czech Air Force in 2015 keeps 9 L-39 advanced training aircraft, 17 transport and observation aircraft (L-410, Yak-40, CL-601 Challenger, A319CJ, CASA/Airbus C295M), plus 35 unarmed transport helicopters (Mi-8, Mi-17 / Mi-171S, W-3A Sokol).

Source: Ministerstvo Obrany České Republiky (MOCR)

A JAS 39C Gripen just after take-off in the early years of their service life with the Czech Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)
A JAS 39C Gripen just after take-off in the early years of their service life with the Czech Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)

An Czech L-159 after take-off (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Czech L-159 after take-off (Image © Marcel Burger)
Czech Air Force Hinds (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Czech Air Force Hinds (Image © Elmer van Hest)

‘Russia to focus on Arctic, gains 150 aircraft’

Russia will add focus to its airborne military presence in the Arctic, but will above all add over 150 aircraft and helicopters to its airborne assets in 2015. A Ministry of Defense spokesperson acknowledged the news recently.

The Russian Air Force will add Su-30CM, Su-30M2, Su-35S Flanker, Su-34 Fullback and MiG-29SMT Fulcrum multi-role fighter aircraft to its inventory, as well as Yak-130 trainers, An-148 and IL-76 transport aircraft, plus Ka-52, Mi-28N, Mi-8AMTSh, Mi-8MTPR, Mi-35M, Mi-26, Ka-226 and Ansat-U helicopters. Combined, their numbers total over 150.

Also, the main activities of the Air Force are said to focus on increasing presence in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. How this statement should be seen in light of last week’s deployment of significant Russian firepower to the former Ukrainian territory of the Crimea, remains to be seen.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

The Su-34 bomber from the October 2014 batch (Image © Sukhoi Company)
The Su-34 bomber from the October 2014 batch (Image © Sukhoi Company)
The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E (Image © Sukhoi Company (JSC))
The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E (Image © Sukhoi Company (JSC))

45 Years of fearsome Flying Tank

Czech Air Force Mi-35 Hind (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Czech Air Force Mi-35 Hind (Image © Dennis Spronk)

The year 2014 is littered with celebrations of first flights of what have become legendary aircraft. Airheadsfly.com started with 40 years of F-16, moved on to 40 years of Tornado, reported on 60 years of C-130 Hercules and now 45 years of Mi-24 combat helicopter, nicknamed the Flying Tank but most commonly known by its NATO-reporting name: Hind.

On 19 September 1969 test pilot German Alferov took to the air for the first time the prototype of what would become the Western world’s and anti-Soviet rebels most feared air asset. Made with international tensions nearing one of the highest points of modern history, the assault and attack helicopter was developed in roughly more than a year – a record. Thanks not only to the pressure by the government of the then Soviet Union that is now Russia and many other states, but also thanks to the research and guidance by chief-designer Mikhail Mil who’s family name is still serving many of the world’s rotary craft.

The Mi-24 prototype in 1969 (Image © Russian Helicopters)
The Mi-24 prototype in 1969 (Image © Russian Helicopters)

Components
To make serial production at Rostvertol in Rostov-on-Don and Progress Arsenyev Aviation Plant in Russia’s Far East quickly possible, Mil’s designers and technicians used a lot of components already in use for the Mi-8 transport helicopter and the Mi-14 anti-submarine chopper already coming of the production line. Together with the Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant all three companies would many decades later merge into Russian Helicopters, as part of the Russian State weapons corporation Rostec’s daughter organisation Oboronprom.

The Mi-24A, the first version of the legendary Hind (Image © Russian Helicopters)
The Mi-24A, the first version of the legendary Hind (Image © Russian Helicopters)
Raised from the archives was this Polish Mi-24D. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Raised from our archives was this Polish Mi-24D. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Records
Once introduced the Mi-24 set records, in 1975 alone eight for speed and lifting by test pilots Galina Rastorgueva and Lyudmila Polyanskaya. Three years later test pilot Gurgen Karapetyan recorded the highest speed by any helicopter at that time: 198.9 knots (368.4 kmh).

Since its introduction more than 3,500 Mi-24 and derivatives have been produced, with the type in service in 40 countries worldwide including some of the former Warsaw Pact forces turned into NATO allies, like the Czech Air Force, the Hungarian Air Force plus the Polish Air and Land Forces.

From our specialized 'rarities departement': a Cuban Mi-24D Hind. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
From our specialized ‘rarities department’: a Cuban Mi-24 Hind D. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Former Czech Mi-24s destined for the new Iraqi Army Avation seen in 2014 at the LOM Praha overhaul and maintenance plant in Prague (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Former Czech Mi-24s destined for the new Iraqi Army Avation seen in 2014 at the LOM Praha overhaul and maintenance plant in Prague (Image © Dennis Spronk)

The newest Hind version, the Mi-35M, went into serial production in 2005. It is the helicopter that is today supplied to the Russian Army Aviation Regiments, but also to many other countries including Brazil. What the Kalashnikov became for small arms, the Mi-24/Mi-35 became for rotary wing warfare: the probably most reliable, relatively affordable and still fearsome weapon of its class on today’s battlefield.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by Russian Helicopters

The Hungarian Air Force made a habit of painting up Hinds for airshows. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Hungarian Air Force made a habit of painting up Hinds for airshows. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

"When

A bunch of Mi-24PNs (Image © Russian Helicopters)
A bunch of Mi-24PNs (Image © Russian Helicopters)
Two Czech Air Force Hinds is better than one Czech Air Force Hind. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Two Czech Air Force Hinds is better than one Czech Air Force Hind. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
An Ukrainian Army Aviation Mi-24 Hind being loaded into a Antonov AN-124 (Ruslan) for the UN mission in Liberia (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)
An Ukrainian Army Aviation Mi-24 Hind being loaded into a Antonov AN-124 (Ruslan) for the UN mission in Liberia (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)
A Brazilian Hind. The country received its first Mi-35M Hinds in April 2010. (Image © Ralph Blok)
The Brazilian Air Force received its first Mi-35M in April 2010. The type is designated as AH-2 Sabre in Brazilian service. (Image © Ralph Blok)
Just saying 'Hi(nd)!' (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Just saying ‘Hi(nd)!’ (Image © Elmer van Hest)