Mi-24: D, V, DU
By J. Bašný, J. Brázda, M. Ovcácík, K. Susa
Publisher: 4+ Publications 1993 52 Pages
PDF 11 MB
Helicopters in military service were initially used only in the Transport, Reconnaissance, and Medevac/SAR roles. As performance improved, a new generation ofhelicopiers appeared with the abilyty to surpress enemy Tire in troop landing areas. Slightly modified transport helicopters were fitted with fixed and flexihie machine guns and rocket pods. The first missions with these gunships were carried out by the French in Algeria and Americans in Vietnam. Rapid developments in electronics led to the development ofonli-tank missiles which were soon modified to be fired from helicopters. Conventional helicopters with their wide hoilies and |>oor performance and mnnoeuvrnhilily proved very vulnerable to enemy ground fire ami it became necessary to replace I hem in t his role, with a much more agile machine that was a more difficult target. The first dedicated helicopter gunship was the Bell AH-1 Cobrn. Later variants of this aircraft, with modern avionics and guided missiles, are still in service with the smaller armies of less wealthy countries.
'Hie Soviet Union, as a leader of the Warsaw Pact, at first, ignored these trends but the experience of the Vietnam war forced a change in attitude. The first step was lo modify helicopters in service lo carry guided missiles and FFAR rockets. First tests were carried out on Mi-1 Hare which was modified to carry missiles designed originally for AFVs. A Mi-4A Hound was filled with four or six pylons mounted on tubular frames on either side of the fuselage. This modification is known also in CzAF inventory. Normal war loads were UIMH/57 FFAR rocket pods with a forward firing machine gun housed in a pod under the fuselage. Some Mi-2 Hoplites were armed and a number of Mi-8 Hip, twin engined helicopters were Titled with four, later six pylons and a forward firing 12.7 mm machine gun, which was mounted in the front cockpit. These variants, the Mi-8T, Mi-8TH and Mi-8TBK had performances similar to unarmed Mi-8s but later TBKs were slightly underpowered. However the absence of armour, low top speed and wide cross section made (hem vulnerable to ground fire.