Tag Archives: Mi-8

Fleet-size upgrade Belarusian Air Force

The Belarusian Air Force started to upgrade almost its entire fleet of aircraft. The most ambitious part: to replace the 24 older MiG-29s “Fulcrum” combat jets with state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-30SM “Flanker” aircraft between 2020 and 2030.

Airbrake out on this Belarusian Yak-130 (Image © Irkut)
RELATED POST: Belarus attack strategy – team up Yak-130 with Su-25

During a meeting with journalist from Belarusian state press agency BelTA Major-General Oleg Dvigalev, Chief of Staff of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence, said that his people already test-flew the Su-30SM during the recent MAKS International Airshow in Moscow.

Although the general did not say how many Flankers he would like the buy, we at Airheadsfly.com believe that the 13 MiG-29s upgraded to BM standard in the early 2000s will stay a bit longer, while up to 18 Su-30SMs will be purchased. The number is based on earlier statements by the Belarusian military leadership.

Rotary wing
Meanwhile the country’s rotary wing of 20 Mil Mi-35 attack helicopters and 5 Mi-26 heavy-lift choppers is expecting a boost with the arrival of 12 Mi-8MTV-5 choppers, the first six in 2016 and the second batch in 2017. They are an upgraded version of the 18 to 25 Mi-8/Mi-17s the Belarusian Air Force has already on strength and are expected to replace some of them.

Airlift and attack
One of the two Ilyushin IL-76 strategic airlifters is currently being brought back to airworthy status, while the second batch of four Yakovlev Yak-130 light attack and advanced jet trainers has been ordered some time ago. The backbone of the Belarusian Air Force’s ground attack capacity, between 40 and 68 operational Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” jets, will remain in service – as well as two to four Antonov An-26 transport aircraft and a handful of Mil Mi-2 utility helicopters.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The Sukhoi Su-30SM (Cy-30CM) during a test flight (Image © Irkut)

Ukraine improving aircraft self-defence

Ukraine is trying to improve the self-defence capabilities of its Mi-24 (“Hind”) and Mi-8 (“Hip”) helicopters. Specialists of the State Scientific Testing Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with business partner MS Avia-Hreyd have field tested the new Adros KUV 26-50 decoy system on a Mi-24P helicopter, the Ukrainian MInistry of Defence confirmed on 24 June 2014.

The new system was tested during five flights lasting a total of two hours. The indigenous designed self-protection system is meant to make the Ukrainian military independent from foreign suppliers, such as former friend and new enemy Russia. Once successful Ukraine aimes to implement the Adros on not only its Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters flown by the Army, but also by the Antonov AN-26 tactical airlifters of the Air Force.

During the conflict with the pro-Russian rebel and regular Russian military forces in the eastern part of the country, the Ukraine military lost many aircraft and helicopters last year due to ground-launched and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The new decoy system is a small hope of improving the situation on the war front, so that the aviation components of the Ukrainian military can be used more effectively with less loss of aircraft and crew.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Mil Mi-24P with the Akros decoy system during a break in the field tests performed in June 2015 (Image © Ukraine Ministry of Defence)

(compiled by Airheadsfly.com based on official sources)

Russia fields strategic water bombers in Siberia

With Winter turning into Spring many countries face the challenge of wildfires. Russia is no exception, where part of the emergency response is done by standard strategic airlifters: the Ilyushin IL-76TD and its cousins.

Three of these have lately been involved in extinguishing fires in Siberia, using VAP-2 spray tanks and installation. The Russian Emergency Response Ministery (MCHS Rossii) has the lead in these missions. The IL-76TD got support from an Russian Air Force IL-76 “Candid”, plus from the MCHS fleet two Beriev BE-200s amphibious firefighters, two Mil Mi-8 helicopters and a single big Mil Mi-26 helicopter. All combined they dropped 700,000 litres of water with the Air Force Candid providing a fifth of the anti-fire power.

The great thing with the big converted airlifters is that they are also used to transport necessary equipment, fire suppression substances and food/aid supplies to areas struck by the fires, about 100 tons in the case of recent the Siberian operations. By combining a relatively environmental-friendly retardant powder (OS-5) with 2.8 times more water the flames can be fought more effectively, while the powder increases the effect of the water on the ground and thereby reducing the number of sorties needed to combat the hazard.

Fire-fighter planes have been busy, with responding to wildfires in the Buryatia region earlier. Russia has been fielding the IL-76s in the fire-fighting role since 1992, with the design started in 1989. The current VAP-2 spray tank systems consists of two cylindrical tanks with each 21,000 litres capacity. The system is attached to the floor of the cargo compartment and can be rolled out/in the Candids by a wheeled trailer.

It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to load and secure the fire-fighting system in the plane. About 25 minutes is used to fill the tanks once they’re in the plane. Typical drop altitudes are between 150 and 320 feet, with each retardant/water load taking about 6 to 8 seconds to be released onto the fire. The VAP-2 system is already compatible with Russia’s new IL-76MD-90A aircraft, without the need of any modifications.

Russia’s MCHS Rossii and Russian Air Force fire-fighting IL-76s are known to fly from the Pskov, Taganrog, Tver and Orenburg Airbases.

2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information by Ilyushin Aircraft Company
Featured image: An Ilyushin IL-76 equipped as water bomber (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)

Czech and Croatian helos train together to aid Afghan Air Force pilots

A new team of Czech, Croatian and Hungarian military personnel have started the work-up to train Afghan Air Force helicopter pilots together. The preps are being done in Ostrava, Croatia, and at Zadar’s Zemuni Donji Airbase, with flying activities and live-fire exercises with a Czech Air Force Mi-24V, two Croatian Air Force Mi-8s and one Mi-171 being done in Croatia.

Soon the joint, 20-member Air Advisor Team will deploy to Kabul to train the Afghan Air Force pilots in their own operational environment. Emergency and special situations were “flown” on the simulator in Ostrava, including the loss of both engines which is not really safe to perform when flying a chopper for real. Subsequently a two-week practical training followed in which standardizing operational procedures for both flying and maintenance are key.

From Zemuni Donji Airbase the team flies the four choppers in tactical approaches, including take-offs and landings with various loads.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by the Czech Air Force
Featured image (top): The Czech Mi-24V and a Croatian Mi-8 together at Zadar (Image © Ing. Zbyněk Suchánek / Czech Armed Forces)

Croatian Hip airborne at Zadar with the joint AAT. (Image © Kpt. Skřivánková  / Czech Armed Forces)
Croatian Mi-8MTV-1 airborne at Zadar with the joint AAT. (Image © Kpt. Skřivánková / Czech Armed Forces)

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)