CNN: Ukrainian pilots are forced to fight on ancient Mi-8 helicopters
Ukrainian pilots have to fight on old Mi-8 transport helicopters converted into attack helicopters. This is stated in a CNN report from the secret location of a separate brigade of army aviation named after Igor Sikorsky.
Given Russia's huge advantage over Ukraine in aviation, the very existence of the Ukrainian Air Force and the presence of helicopters is surprising, they write journalists. Despite this, pilots from the Sikorsky air brigade continue to carry out combat missions, making three sorties a day.
The brigade's fleet consists of Soviet-made helicopters, all of which are over 30 years old.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked NATO and other allies to give Ukraine aviation, but the reaction so far is «close to zero», notes CNN. The UK has agreed to provide Ukraine with several retired Sea King helicopters, while Portugal has agreed to provide six non-flying Ka-32A11BC helicopters to Ukraine.
«Of course, we need new helicopters, because ours are still Soviet ones. We squeeze everything possible and impossible out of them. It would be nice if we were given some new types of helicopters, including «Apaches». We would learn how to manage them very quickly, because we have the motivation», one of the pilots, whom journalists call only by his first name, Sergey, told the publication.
Another pilot, Gennady, replied: «Of course, these are old aircraft. But it's better than nothing. What else can we do?»
Mi-8 helicopters were generally conceived as transport helicopters, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine converted them into shock helicopters, hanging missiles. Unlike modern or even Soviet attack helicopters, they do not have armor to protect the pilots.
Another problem is the lack of sophisticated targeting systems. «The effective use of their missiles is a combination of hope and experience», writes CNN.
The Mi-8 also has electronic countermeasures systems to protect against anti-aircraft missile systems and missiles of the &#class 171; air – air», but against modern systems they are not enough. «We don't know if they work at all, but if they work at a level of at least 2%, it's better than nothing», said one of the interlocutors of the publication.