Russia: August 27, 2002


After the successful downing of an Mi-26 "Halo" transport helicopter, the Chechen rebels have turned their attention to two Federal helicopters fitted with IR imagers. By 27 August, these aircraft had come under rebel fire five times in the last seven days, but remained undamaged. The rebels had been hunting these night flying helicopters in the Nozhai-Yurt and Vedeno districts because they are apparently quite effective. The Russians claim that on 24 and 25 August alone, their crews discovered nine targets in Chechnya's mountains. In the last two years, nearly 2,000 targets were discovered at night and up to 1,200 destroyed by artillery fire with the help of MI-8MTKO helicopters. 

The MI-8MTKO helicopters were equipped with OPS- 24N unified optical sight systems and GOES-321 units. The GOES-321 optic and electronic system includes an IR imager and a laser range-finder, night vision goggles and accessories, as well as satellite navigation suite and electronic indicators. These allow the pilots to use Ataka guided missiles (fitted with shaped charge or thermobaric warheads) 24 hours a day, at ranges mounting up to 6 kilometers. After finding targets with their IR imagers, the MI-8MTKO can also direct artillery fire onto the enemy. 

Also by 27 August, the official MI-26 Halo helicopter crash death toll had reached 118. Only 36 of them had been identified by that date, since the Russian Defense Ministry's 124th Forensic Medicine Laboratory had to primarily rely on DNA information. - Adam Geibel

Chechen rebels admitted that Russian troops had killed one of their commanders (Aslanbek Abdulkhadzhiev), and several other rebels. Local villagers reported the presence of a group of rebels and Russian troops was able to attack the group.  


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