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Russia destroys several Ukrainian Mi-8 multipurpose helicopters using cluster bombs

On March 13, 2024, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the destruction of two Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters. This announcement was accompanied by a video showing an initial strike using a cluster bomb to immobilize the Ukrainian aircraft, followed by their subsequent destruction by Russian forces.
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Russian Ministry of Defense announced the destruction of two Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters. (Picture source: Russian MoD)

In a detailed report published, the Russian Ministry of Defense highlighted the success of its operational-tactical aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile troops, and artillery units in carrying out precise operations against Ukrainian military assets. A key aspect of the operation was the destruction of two Mi-8 helicopters of the Ukrainian Air Force at a landing area near Novopavlovka, emphasizing the targeted approach of Russian forces to diminish the aerial capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The Mil Mi-8 is a versatile helicopter, used in both civilian and military contexts, known for its maneuverability and assault capabilities. Developed by the Mil manufacturer, a company originating from the Soviet Union and now located in Russia, the Mi-8 made its first flight on July 7, 1961, and was officially introduced into service in 1967. Since then, it has remained in active service, with over 17,000 units built to date, testifying to its crucial role and continued popularity in various operations worldwide.

The standard crew of a Mi-8 includes three members: a pilot, a co-pilot, and a flight engineer, highlighting the importance of team collaboration in managing its complex operations. In terms of motorization, the helicopter is powered by two Klimov TV2-117A turboshaft engines for the Mi-8T model or TV3-117MT, each providing a power of 1,950 horsepower, and it is equipped with a main rotor consisting of five blades.

From a dimensional perspective, the Mi-8 has an impressive rotor diameter of 21.29 meters, 18.31 meters, and a height of 5.60 meters. Its empty weight is 7,160 kg, with a maximum payload of 4,000 kg, allowing the helicopter to reach a maximum takeoff weight of 12,020 kg when equipped for military missions.

In terms of performance, the Mi-8 can reach a cruising speed of 230 km/h and a maximum speed of 260 km/h. It can fly at an operational ceiling of 4,500 meters, with a range of 610 kilometers, and an extended ferry range of up to 960 kilometers, offering an impressive combination of speed, range, and carrying capacity.

For armament, the Mi-8 is equipped for combat, with an internal 12.7 mm caliber machine gun. It can also be armed with up to four rocket launchers and four AT-2 anti-tank missiles in an external configuration, providing considerable flexibility and firepower for assault and ground support missions.

Furthermore, Russian forces managed to obliterate a weapons and military hardware maintenance workshop located near Balakleya in the Kharkov region. This operation signifies the strategic intent to paralyze the logistical and repair capabilities of the Ukrainian army, potentially leading to a degradation of their operational readiness over time.

The report also emphasized the engagement of AFU personnel and equipment in 129 areas, demonstrating the extensive nature of Russian military efforts to exert pressure on Ukrainian forces along various fronts.

The strategic implications of these operations extend beyond immediate tactical victories. By targeting Ukrainian helicopters, weapons workshops, and sophisticated defense systems, Russia aims to erode the military capabilities of Ukraine while demonstrating the efficacy and reach of its military assets. These actions, coupled with the widespread engagement of Ukrainian forces, signal a determined effort by Russia to assert its military dominance in the region.

This operation may also aim to counterbalance the heavy losses that the Russian air forces have suffered recently. It proves that Russian forces are also capable of striking and destroying aerial material, potentially raising concerns for the future F-16s currently being delivered.

Russia destroys several Ukrainian Mi 8 multipurpose helicopters 925 002Several Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters targeted by Russian cluster ammunition. (Picture Source: Russian MoD)


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