The Russian Army Aviation Squadron at Erebuni Airbase in Armenia is now fully up to speed. The last helicopters that arrived in December 2015 have been assembled, and are now added to the fleet.
With the final choppers ready for action the squadron at Erebuni tends to keep 10 attack and assault helicopters operational at all times, comprising a mixed fleet of Mil Mi-24 Hinds and Mi-8 Hips, according to a statement of the Russian Ministry of Defence. The goal is to have a total of 18 Mi-24P (Hind-F) and Mi-8MT/SMVs at the base, with some of those held in reserve.
The squadron pilots are now flight testing and commenced training on the latest machines, flying at 300 to more than 10,000 feet in various weather conditions on different mission types, day and night. Steady part of the training is conducting combat simulation in mountainous areas.
The 3624th Air Base Erebuni is also home to a Russian Air Force squadron which aims to have up to sixteen MiG-29 on strength, as well as much of the small Armenian Air Force. The base and civilian airport is located nearby the Armenian capital of Yerevan, at 3,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by a mountain range.
While Mil designed Mi-8 transport helicopters have fallen pray to missile attacks in Ukraine, Afghanistan and many other of the world’s hotspots, that will be a thing of the past according to a spokesperson of the Russian Eastern Military District.
Russian press agency RIA Novosti quotes this Alexander Gordeyev as saying that the new Mi-8AMTSh Terminator will be “immune” against enemy missiles, by using an electronic jammer against optical and radar guided devices and a laser beam to shoot down incoming heat-seeking projectiles.
The new system is said to be installed on the new special armoured assault version of the Hip dubbed Mi-8AMTSh, apparently at an airbase in the Lesosibirisk area. The rotary wing will then train in inserting troops and provide them with close-air support once on the ground, plus flying combat search and rescue missions. Its weaponry will include unguided and possible guided missiles against surface targets up to main battle tank level and against slow-moving aircraft, helicopters and drones.
Russian Mi-8AMTSh order
The AMTSh has a is fully night-vision compatible cockpit with digital systems. In December 2014 the Russian military signed an order for 40 Mi-8AMTShs, then still without the new electronic/laser self-protection suite.
The Bangladesh Armed Forces received five brand new Mil Mi-171SH tactical transport helicopters on 10 December 2015, manufacturer Russian Helicopters announced.
Made in the Ulan-Ude aViatin Plant the five choppers have been supplied including contemporary navigation systems to make them usable in almost any weather condition, day or night. The “Hips” – as the NATO-reporting name for the type goes – can accommodate up to 37 paratroopers, up to 12 wounded on stretchers or a cargo load of up to 8,818 lbs (4,000 kg ). In Bangladesh Air Force service the Mi-171 serves not only as transport, but also as search-and-rescue, medevac and training helicopter.
Bangladesh Mi-171 crash
The Bangladesh Mi-171SH order was signed in 2013 and is a follow up on two earlier purchases of each 3 machines. The Bangladesh Air Force is aiming at having 15 of the Mi-171SH in total, after another five were ordered this year. The quick calculators among you miss a 16th machine. True, that one crashed on Chittagong Airbase on 13 May 2015, injuring three crew.
Apart from the SH-version Bangladesh also flies 13 standard Mi-171s, three similar Mi-17s and two Mil Mi-17-1V for VIP duties, putting the total projected fleet at 30 Hips.
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.
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.
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.
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.