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29 juillet 2015 3 29 /07 /juillet /2015 12:30
Mi-8 helicopter  Photo Itar-Tass

Mi-8 helicopter Photo Itar-Tass


July 27, 2015: Strategy Page


Prisoner statements, aerial reconnaissance and electronic communications intercepts indicate that the Syrian Air Force has gotten the most out of its largely Russian built helicopter force, but has lost most of their several hundred choppers in the process. In late 2010, before the civil war began, the Syrian air force had 130 Mi-8/17 transport helicopters and 80 helicopter gunships (32 Mi-24 plus 30 SA-342 and 20 Mi-2a light attack models). Eventually the Syrian Navy had to send its twenty helicopters to support ground operations. Ten of these were Mi-14s, which are naval versions of the Mi-8.  The Mi-24 is also an Mi-8 variant. In all the Syrians had 230 military helicopters available. While Russia supplied a lot of spare parts and some technical personnel since then, Russia sent no additional helicopters. Thus by early 2015 about 80 percent of the 2010 helicopter force was out of actions because of combat damage or simply because they were worn out and could no longer fly, or fly safely.


Unlike the “fast movers” (jet bombers and fighters) that came in fast and usually got away before ground fire could hit them, the helicopters came in low and slow. Although the helicopters learned to stay above most small arms (assault rifle and machine-gun) range that was only about 1,600 meters/5,000 feet altitude. This was still close enough for larger caliber machine-guns and portable anti-aircraft missiles. About half the missions flow by these helicopters since 2011 have been for bombing, dropping “barrel bombs” on urban areas.


Most of the Syrian helicopters are Mi-8s or variations of the Mi-8. This is a 1960s era design that is often exported as Mi-17. This 12 ton helicopters is about twice the size and weight of the American UH-1, but only hauls about 50 percent more cargo. However, the Mi-8 has a larger interior, and can carry 24 troops, versus a dozen in the UH-1. The UH-1 was replaced by the UH-60 in the 1980s, while the Mi-8 just kept adding better engines and electronics to the basic Mi-8 airframe. The Mi-8 costs about half as much as a UH-60, and the larger interior is popular with many users. For that reason over 3,000 Mi-17s have been exported along with many more Mi-8s and Mi-14s. While the Russian aid for the Syrian helicopters was free, the Russians did take notes on the extensive combat experience of their Mi-8s since 2011. The Syrian use of Russian helicopters in combat was the most intense use of the Mi-8 since the 1980s (Afghanistan and Iraq). Thus the Russians got to see how all the Mi-8 upgrades since the 1980s have worked out.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
Blackhawks of 4th Sqdn, 6th Air Cav Regt

Blackhawks of 4th Sqdn, 6th Air Cav Regt


April 8, 2014: Strategy Page


Not surprisingly, for the country that pioneered the development and production of helicopters, American models comprise 48 percent of the military helicopters now in service. The most common, with 18 percent of the military market, is the S-70 (also known as the UH/SH/MH-60 Black Hawk) a ten ton transport that replaced the UH-1 (a 4.6 ton helicopter developed in the 1950s and was known as the “Huey” during the Vietnam War) in the 1980s. However the UH-1 still has 8 percent of the market and has been much upgraded and is no longer manufactured. But many firms specialize in refurbishing UH-1s and Huey will be around for a few decades more. The civilian version of the UH-1, the 5.3 ton Bell 212/412 has four percent of the military market and is still in production. The 22 ton CH-47 is a heavy transports (carrying up to ten tons) and has five percent of the market and the smaller (1.3 ton) OH-58 and MD500 are scout helicopters and each has four percent of the market. The 11 ton AH-64 has five percent of the market.


Mi-24 RAE 2013

Mi-24 RAE 2013

Russian Cold War era helicopters have 16 percent of the market. These include the 11 ton Mi-8/17 transport with 11 percent and the 12 ton Mi-24 gunship with five percent. The rest of the military helicopters are mainly European models although China and India are beginning to introduce their own designs.


The United States has the largest military helicopter fleet, with 30 percent of the world total. Russia is second with 5 percent followed by South Korea and China (4 percent each), Japan, India and France (3 percent each) and then Turkey, Germany and Italy with 2 percent each. By tonnage lift the U.S. has about half the world total because of its large number of heavier transports.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
Hungary Buys Mi-8 Helos, Eyes $470M Aircraft Procurement

Hungary is acquiring Mi-8 transport helicopters as part of an effort to improve its airlift capabilities. Here, a Croatian Mi-8 participates in a NATO exercise. (NATO)


Apr. 7, 2014 - By JAROSLAW ADAMOWSKI – Defense News


WARSAW — The Hungarian Ministry of Defense has acquired three Mil Mi-8 transport helicopters produced by Russia’s state-run Rosoboronprom and imported by a Hungarian defense firm.


Meanwhile, the country’s armed forces are planning to purchase new helos and transport aircraft under a 105 billion forint (US $470 million) modernization program, of which 100 billion forints are to be spent on helicopters and 5 billion forints on planes.


Last year, Defense Minister Csaba Hende said Hungary was planning to significantly strengthen its airlift capability by 2016.


The Mi-8 purchase is estimated to be worth about 2 billion forints, reported local daily Magyar Nemzet. The helos were transported to the Kecskemét air base onboard an Antonov An-124 plane.


The Hungarian government has postponed the launch of the aircraft acquisition program due to the April 6 parliamentary elections. With the ruling Fidesz Party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban securing a comfortable majority in the vote, the country’s Defense Ministry is expected to go ahead with the much-awaited program.


In 2013, Hungary had a defense budget of 241.37 billion forints

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