Russia’s Mil Mi-24 helicopter – code name Hind – first took flight in September of 1969. The Mi-24 is a large gunship and attack helicopter capable of carrying eight passengers, It is known among the Soviet pilots as the “flying tank”. The Mi-24 has also been unofficially referred to as the ‘Crocodile’ because of its camouflage scheme and sometimes “Glass” due to the flat glass plates surrounding the helicopter’s cockpit. The helicopter is manufactured by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant.
Overview of the Mi-24s Development
The Soviet Union developed the Mi-24 helicopter once the need for battlefield mobility was apparent noting the additional need for fire support and infantry support missions. What resulted was a five-blade main rotor and three-blade tail rotor helicopter with two turboshaft engines mounted on the top. The body of the Mi-24 and its rotor blades are capable of resisting impact from .50 cal rounds. The airframe was streamlined to increase the overall speed of the helicopter.
One of the major differences in the Mi-24 compared to Western helicopters – such as the UH-1 ‘Huey’ is the Mi-24s ability to act as both a ferry for troops and a gunship at the same time. The closest Western design was the S-67 Blackhawk produced by Sikorsky. Sikorsky utilized similar design principles of the Mi-24, but was never activated for service.
Specifications of the Mi-24
- Crew: 2-3
- Capacity: Eight troop total or four stretchers
- Maximum Take-off Weight: 26,500 lbs.
- Maximum Speed: 208 mph
- Range: 280 miles
Armament can include a number of combinations of internal guns, external stores and bomb loads.
The Mi-24 Hind has seen action in a number of conflicts since 1977 when it was first used during the Ogaden War. The helicopter was also used in the Cambodian-Vietnamese War in 1978, the Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1979-89 and several other conflicts including the Iran-Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War. The Soviet Union’s Mi-24 Helicopter remains active in the current day Afghanistan War.