Mil Mi-24 Hind

Who Else Used It?

Warsaw Pact Countries

The first Mi-24s, four Mi-24Ds, entered service with the Bulgarian Air Force (Bulgarski Voennovazdushni Sili) in June 1979 and the type remained in service throughout the Cold War and beyond. The three main roles for Bulgaria’s Hinds were in providing close-air support for ground troops, (effectively operating as ‘flying artillery’), anti-armour operations and battlefield air defence against slow-speed aircraft and helicopters.

The Czechoslovakian Air Force (Ceskoslovenske Vojenske Létectvo) ordered a number of Hinds in 1978 as part of a modernisation programme. Given Czechoslovakia’s proximity to the ‘border’ with NATO the Czech Air Force repeatedly received new aircraft and better variants of the Hind and the Plzen-Bory airfield became a front-line aerodrome for Hind operations. Czechoslovakian Hinds would have been at the forefront of any NATO/Warsaw Pact conflict.

East Germany
June 1978 saw the Mi-24 first introduced into the East German Air Force & Air Defence Force (Luftstreitkräfte und Luftverteidigung der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik), with an initial delivery of four aircraft. The aircraft were regularly detached to forward helipads in order to provide quick-reaction protection for radar sites located near the border between East Germany and West Germany. With the re-unification of Germany in 1990 most East German military aircraft, including the Hinds, were taken on strength by the new German Luftwaffe.

Like most Warsaw Pact air forces the Hungarian Air Force (Magyar Légierö) first received its Hinds during 1978 and operated them in a similar manner to other Warsaw Pact air forces such as Bulgaria and East Germany.

Mi-24s were first delivered to the Polish Air Force (Polskie Wojsko Lotnicze) in September 1978 and the aircraft became operational in January 1979. As there existed a Warsaw Pact-wide policy on the employment of attack helicopters, Polish Hind duties and operations were not dissimilar to those of other Eastern Bloc countries such as Bulgaria and East Germany.

Other Users

Deliveries of Mi-24As and Mi-25s to the Afghan Republican Air Force (Afghan Hanai Qurah) began in April 1979 and they were soon in action against Mujahedin guerrillas in the ground-attack role. The majority of the aircraft survived the Soviet occupation of the country and enough were still operation in 1991 to equip three Afghani Air Force Combat Helicopter Regiments.

Unfortunately, beyond the fact the Algerian Air Force (Force Aérienne Algérienne) is known to have operated a mixture of 38 Mi-24As and Mi-24Ds, nothing is known of the operations in which they have been engaged.

The Hinds of the Angolan Air Force (Força Aérea Nacional de Angola) – initially crewed by Cuban and East German Air Force servicemen - were heavily involved in combating Dr John Savimbi’s UNITA rebels who were supported by the South African Defence Force. One of the more defensive roles assigned to the Angolan Hinds was the escort of supply convoys. UNITA troops were so aware of the dangers of the Hind that special units were established to shoot them down using anti-aircraft missiles whilst in the tree canopy. When the Soviet, Cuban and East German personnel left Angola the Hinds sharply declined in efficacy and it was difficult to keep them airworthy.

Cambodia, or Kampuchea as it then was, acquired an unknown quantity of unidentified variant(s) of the Hind from Vietnam during the mid-1980s for use by government forces in the Kampuchean Civil War. No specific information about Kampuchea’s/Cambodia’s Hind operations is known.

The Cuban Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Revolucionaria) is known to have operated 20 Mi-24Ds from 1984 but no information about their deployments or operations is in the public domain.

The Ethiopian Air Force received around 40 Hinds in 1978 and it was whilst in Ethiopian service that the Hind first went into combat. Somalia invaded the disputed Ogaden region of Ethiopia in 1977 to trigger the Ogaden War. Ethiopian Mi-24As – flown by Cuban crews – attacked the invading Somali forces in the ground-attack role. Ethiopia’s Hinds were also used against Eritrean separatists in the north of the country during the 1980s and 1990s. The initial batch of Mi-24As were supplemented by a number of the Mi-35 variant in 1988.

Germany (post-reunification)
With the re-unification of Germany in 1990 the separate air forces of the old East Germany and West Germany were united in the new Luftwaffe. The new Luftwaffe evaluated the Hind and it was briefly operated by two Germany Army Aviation Squadrons, Heeresfliegerstaffel 79 and Heeresfliegerstaffel 80, before being retired from service. Some of the aircraft were sold to Hungary and Poland and two to the USA for evaluation purposes.

Purchased only in late 1984, the Indian Air Force’s Mi-25s have seen a surprising amount of action. The 1987 dispute with Pakistan over sovereignty of the Siachin Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, saw Indian Hinds attacking Pakistani Army positions whilst between 1987 and 1989 the Indian Peacekeeping Force in Sri Lanka made much use of the Hinds. In Sri Lanka the Mi-25s were used to seek out Tamil Tiger encampments, attack Tamil Tiger water transport and escort troop-carrying helicopters.

The Iran-Iraq War, which ran from 1980 to 1988, was a conflict which saw heavy use of the Mil Mi-24A and Mi-25 (export Mi-24D) by the Iraqi Air Force (al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Iraqiya). The Iraqi Hinds saw action in a number of roles including: anti-tank and anti-personnel operations; attacks on fortifications, artillery emplacements and bridges; escort of troop-carrying assault helicopters; close-air support for ground formations; mine-laying; artillery co-operation; reconnaissance, and; chemical weapon deployment. Iraqi Mi-24s were also involved in the August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait but were not deployed against Coalition forces involved in DESERT STORM.

Libyan Arab republic Air Force Mi-25s and Mi-24As were actively engaged throughout the 1980s in the Chadian civil war on the side of the pro-Libyan rebels led by Goukouni Oueddi against the French and US supported government forces of Hissen Habre. Libyan Hinds were involved in most major engagements of the war including the capture of the Chadian capital N’djamena in October 1980, attacks on government bases in Sudan and the battles for Oum Chalouba, Abéché, Faya, Bardao, Zouar and Falah. In 1987 three Mi-25s were captured and given to France, Britain and the United States for evaluation. The western press repeatedly reported that throughout the conflict Libyan military aircraft were piloted by North Korean, Palestinian, Pakistani and Syrian Air Force personnel.

A number of Mi-25Ds were delivered to the Nicaraguan Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Sandanista) in 1983-1984 to help suppress the country’s Contra rebels. These were used both in the conventional close air support role and also as ‘fighters’, the Contra ‘air force’ consisting of light aircraft. With the cessation of hostilities in 1990 Nicaragua sold its Hinds on to Peru.

The Peru Air Force (Fuerza Aérea del Peru) acquired 12 Mi-25s from the Soviet Union in the early 1980s and supplemented these with seven ex-Nicaraguan examples in 1990. Peru used its Hinds for internal policing against Shining Path Maoist guerrillas, the Tupac Amaru Liberation Movement and indigenous drug cartels.

South Yemen
The People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen Air Force received 15 Mi-24Ds in 1980. No information about their further employment is known.

Never having had ‘Friendly Nation’ status with the Soviet Union, the 20 or so Hinds operated by the Sudanese Air Force (al Quwwat al-Jawwiya as-Sudaniya) are thought to be examples that were captured from the Libyan Air force during the 1983-1987 Chadian Civil War in which Sudan opposed the Libyan-backed rebels. No further details are known.

Operations by Mi-24s were one of the Syrian Air Force (al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Arabiya as-Suriya) success stories of the fifth Arab-Israeli war which broke out in 1982. Particularly successful in the battles around Aon Zgalta, Syrian Hinds were responsible for the majority of the 55 Israeli tanks destroyed by the Syrian Air Force during the war while not a single Hind was lost in combat. Syria also deployed her Hinds against paramilitary forces based in Lebanon and used them to enforce a naval blockade of the Lebanese coast. It was whilst engaged on blockade duties that a Syrian Hind created an international incident when it mistook two Soviet Navy vessels for blockade runners and opened fire. Luckily no-one was killed and Syria presented an official apology.

United Kingdom
This aircraft did not see operational service with the RAF although one ex-Libyan Mi-25 that had been captured during the Chadian Civil War was evaluated by the Rotary Wing Test Squadron of the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment.

From the mid-1980s the Vietnam Peoples Air Force used Hinds in raids against Khmer Rouge guerrillas based in neighbouring Kampuchea (now Cambodia). Having been the target of American helicopter gun-ships during the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese copied the American tactics when using their Hinds in the ground-attack role.

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