Ukraine’s 25th Separate Airborne Brigade has successfully downed a Russian Mi-8 transport helicopter in the ongoing Russian invasion.
Ukraine, October 16, 2023: Ukrainian military, specifically the 25th Separate Airborne Brigade, successfully downed a Russian Mi-8 transport helicopter. While the incident’s exact location and casualties remain undisclosed, this achievement has added another layer of complexity to the ongoing conflict.
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky, the Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), shared footage of the flaming wreckage through the popular messaging app Telegram. In his post, he commended the 25th Separate Airborne Brigade, stating, “A Russian Mi-8 was shot down. Great work by the 25th Separate Airborne Brigade. Burns well, good job warriors.”
The Mi-8 helicopter, first developed in the 1960s, primarily serves as a transport aircraft. It’s considered one of the workhorses of the Russian air force and can carry up to 24 troops, making it a versatile asset in military operations.
Interestingly, these helicopters are also in use by Ukraine’s armed forces. In an interview with Radio Free Europe (RFE), a Ukrainian pilot revealed some of the secrets behind the success of their crew: low-level flights, rapid turnarounds, and a dedicated support team.
According to the independent monitoring group, Oryx, which tracks losses confirmed through open sources, Ukraine has managed to shoot down 21 Russian Mi-8s out of a total of 106 Russian helicopters of all types. Ukrainian military authorities, however, report a higher number of downed helicopters, with the count reaching 317, although not all of these have been independently verified.
In the broader context of this conflict, the Mi-8 is not the only helicopter in Russia’s inventory facing losses. The most commonly destroyed Russian helicopter during this full-scale invasion of Ukraine is the Ka-52 Alligator, lauded by the Kremlin as the world’s premier helicopter gunship. Military experts consider it one of the best attack helicopters globally due to its counter-rotating rotors, “smart” targeting systems, thick armor, and powerful armament. It operates with a crew of two and carries a price tag of approximately $10 million per unit.
A notable feature of the Ka-52 is the Vikhr attack missile, a weapon Moscow claims can destroy any tank at a 10-kilometer range. This capability allows Ka-52 gunners to engage targets well beyond the reach of most Ukrainian air defense systems.
Interestingly, some of Ukraine’s counteroffensive equipment losses are believed to have been inflicted by Ka-52s hovering over the battlefield and firing rockets, according to Forbes.
The downing of the Russian Mi-8 adds another layer to the complex situation in the conflict. As both sides continue to engage in military operations, the dynamics and consequences of these actions are continuously evolving, making it essential to closely monitor developments in the region.