Warplanes: February 28, 2002


Combat experience gained during the Second Chechen War proved to the Russians that it was necessary to enable Army aviation assets to operate at night and in adverse weather conditions, rather than blindly trying to destroy targets. The commander of the Land Forces aviation, Colonel General Vitaly Pavlov, said on 22 February that his branch's major drawback was how impossible it was to perform missions at night and in adverse weather conditions. 

Only two night-capable MI- 8MTKO helicopters are in Chechnya but the air scouts detected over 2,000 targets at night in the past two years and up to 1,200 were destroyed by artillery fire using their information.

Pavlov wanted priority in research production and tests given to the Ansat, KA-226 Hoodlum and modernized MI-2 Hoplite training helicopters, the KA-60U advanced flight training helicopter, the MI-24M and MI-24PK Hind helicopters. 

The Rostvertol JS has started upgrading first MI-24 Hind helicopters of the Army Aviation regular units on 26 February, modernized them to MI-24PN standards (advanced avionics for 24-hour all-weather operation). Designer General of the Moscow-based Mil helicopter plant Alexei Samusenko said that the modernization program would make up for some 25% or 30% of the plant's production volume. 

However, the first helicopters off the production line would most likely be sent to combat school centers for training pilots and maintenance personnel, rather than to regular units. - Adam Geibel


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