13 January 2010

Mi-35 Hind Awesomeness

The Russian-built Mi-35 Hind (which is an upgraded Mi-24/Mi-25 helicopter) sees plenty of service in the fledgling Afghan Air Force. For those of you familiar with the Afghan War, this is exceedingly amusing, as Mujahadeen Rebels shot down Soviet Hinds in great numbers with US-supplied Stinger missiles during the Soviet invasion, courtesy of Charlie Wilson. Oh, how times have changed.

ISAF, in its attempts to help build a stronger security force for Afghanistan, has begun training Afghan pilots in the employment of the Hind, with Soldiers from the Czech Republic providing much of the training, as shown in this awesome video from Combined Security Transition Commad-Afganistan on Youtube (H/T ISAF on Facebook).

The Hind is a menacing, evil-looking attack helicopter, most famous for "starring" in a particularly harrowing scene from Red Dawn, where a a Hind (actually a modified SA-330 Puma helicopter) guns down American teenagers. It serves as the inspiration for the Clone Trooper gunships in the Star Wars films. It is also particularly notable as the first helicopter to participate in air-to-air helicopter combat, with Iraqi-piloted Mi-25s taking on Iranian helicopters during the 1980s.

Fortunately for us in the US Army Aviation community, the weight, size, and peculiar stubby wings (which are lift-producing, unlike those on America gunships) of the aircraft make it notoriously unstable in flight. In fact, an American AH-1 Cobra pilot, jockeying with a Soviet Mi-24 pilot on opposite sides of the West/East German border caused an Mi-24 to crash, as the cumbersome Mi-24 couldn't keep up with the more nimble Cobra.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting aircraft with a long combat history. Definitely check out the video.


Anonymous said...

Under comparable aircraft to the Puma in Wikipedia is the Mi-8, featured in The Beast, although it was actually a Super Frelon, another Aerospatiale helicopter. And to complete the Kevin Bacon chain, I'm sure that Red Dawn has been screened in Afghanistan (the original) or will be (the remake) where The Beast is set.

Of course in The Beast, the mujahadeen take out a tank with their RPG.

Anonymous said...

I thought I read that the Mi-35 was just an export version of the Mi-24? The Soviets/Russians weren't known for exporting their best equipment to their customers. They usually gave their customers badly built "monkey models" that did terrible in battle.


Do the Afghans have upgraded Mi-35s? Is that what you mean?

Starbuck said...

Ah, you are correct, the Mi-35 is the export version. My bad.