Russia: October 29, 2002


: Chechen rebels shot down a Russian MI-8 "Hip" helicopter in the vicinity of a Khankala air base helicopter pad at about 16:10 Moscow time (1310 GMT), probably with a man-portable air defense missile system (MANPADS). Once hit by the missile, the helicopter auto-rotated on its own axis for some time before falling 100 feet and exploding. Three crewmen aboard, along with an officer accompanying the cargo, were killed. Special purpose forces in the area immediately launched a search for the rebel missile team, although they soon lost the advantage of daylight. 

This attack pattern is similar to the 19 August rebel attack on an MI-26 Halo helicopter landing at Khankala, when the rebels fired an "Igla" missile from an abandoned building not far from the airfield. Of the 152 people aboard that aircraft, 124 were killed. Obviously, there are too many hiding places around the Russians' main airbase in Chechnya. - Adam Geibel


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