In the first helicopter "wave", heading for Afghanistan in early January 1980, there was only one combat Mi-24. The bulk were transport Mi-6 and Mi-8, which delivered paratroopers and cargo. However, after a couple of months, an increasing share in the army aviation began to take sorties on combat use. Subsequently, helicopter weapons underwent significant changes that reflected the course of the Afghan war, its tactics and strategy.
The basis of the helicopter units by this time remained the Mi-8, which constituted two thirds of the 40 Army's helicopter fleet, which was the only one in the Soviet Armed Forces that received its own aircraft. Initially, these forces were very modest: as of the first days of January 1980, the 40 Army aviation had only a pair of helicopter squadrons - 302-th OVE in Shindand and one squadron from 280-th OVP 1 in Kandahar, which included only two dozen cars (another helicopter squadron under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Belov was based in Bagram from "pre-war" times and was not formally part of the 40 Army, acting on the instructions of the Soviet Chief Military Advisor in the interests of the Afghan armed forces).
The rapidly emerging need to strengthen the air force led to an increase in its numerical strength. After a few months, the software of the helicopters was already in Afghanistan, and by the end of 1980 there were more than 200 operating in three regiments (280, 292, and 181), and also 50 a separate mixed air regiment (OCAP) and three separate squadrons. At this time, the G8s completed eight helicopter squadrons (consisting of regiments and individual), three flew Mi-6 and four more were equipped with Mi-24. "Eights" in the initial period were presented almost exclusively by the model Mi-8T, however, already from the spring in parts on Ali do more powerful Mi-8MT (the first of them have already received at acquisition 50-th OSAP, soon to become famous as the "fifty dollars").
Mi-8 met the war far from unarmed: on the farms on the sides provided for the suspension of weapons, they could carry up to four XB-16-16 UMVP 57-charging units. loaded with 57 mm NAR type C-5, or bombs with a caliber up to 250 kg (the five-hundred-pair pair was allowed, and the Mi-8T took only the “short” bombs of the old models, and the “long” FABs could be hung on the Mi-8MT 500М62). The more powerful emteshki also differed in the design of the trusses and had six suspension nodes, which allowed using the UN-32 32-barreled blocks and other weapons, to which we will look at in detail. The firepower was reinforced by the paratroopers on board, although weapons Not all fighters of the transported compartment could use: only five opening portholes were equipped with pivot stops for automatic and PKK, including the front pair behind the entrance door and the rear one at the end of the cab, and a more powerful PC machine gun could be mounted in the doorway and the right front window. The Emteshki had the same number of points for shooting, but for greater efficiency, the holders for PC also received an extreme aft pair of portholes. The remaining windows were not used so that the fire from them inadvertently did not hit their own farms of external hangers. In practice, the pins with clamps were not always used, and even removed them altogether, preferring shooting with a firm emphasis, which allowed them to quickly throw fire and reload stores.
Apparently, the helicopter pilots of the 302 squadron deployed from Ashgabat were the first to “check in” in a combat situation: ensuring the passage of military convoys, already their X8 31, suppressing firing points along the road behind the border Kushka. The same work had to be done on the New Year's morning the next day: clearing the way for the army, the squadron "spinners" were processing the villages at the Rabati-Mirza pass. The war began right before the eyes of their colleagues from the 1979 regiment, who were passing with the landing groups above, with their course towards Shindand and Kandahar ...
The clash with the enemy almost cost the loss of the Mi-8 already 30 of December 1979. Helicopter of the deputy commander of the 181-OVP V.K. Gainutdinov, who was carrying out reconnaissance flight, came under automatic fire and received multiple damages: the spar of the rotor blade was pierced through (the finger could easily be pushed through the hole), and the broken hydraulics pipeline led to the failure of the “step-by-gas” control, forcing the forced landing. On the helicopter losing control, the pilot managed to hold 11 mines in the air, reaching the safe place (the pilots themselves, it is true, then soberly assessed what had happened, believing that they didn’t have to go with the weapon to the “bearded” group, and attributing the incident to lack of experience) . It was the second combat mission of the crew of V. K. Gainutdinov, who soon became a legendary figure among the "Afghan" pilots and received the title Hero of the Soviet Union in April 1980.
The first military winter was unusually snowy. At the stations of the Kandahar airfield - Mi-8 280 regiment, which appeared at the air base in the first days of January 1980.
With skillful use, a lead shower from the air proved to be very effective (especially at first, when helicopter pilots did not have sufficient experience in shooting at NAR and bombing: the three to five test missiles on the course of combat training in the Soviet Union did not provide adequate skills, and the second the attempts of the real adversary, who had become skilled in military affairs, could not have been given). So, already at the first large-scale combat operation to suppress the rebellion of the 4 artillery regiment of the Afghan army in Nahrin in the north of the country in early January, 1980 success was achieved to a considerable extent thanks to the participation of a helicopter unit that took onboard the gunners. In the course of advancing to the settlement, several groups of riders numbering up to two hundred were scattered from the helicopters by fire and an ambush with three guns was destroyed. Under the cover of the air, the rebels managed to take the barracks with one throw, and only in the operation that took less than a day, the rebels lost about 100 people, seven guns and five cars at the cost of killing just two of our soldiers.
Sometimes there was one rumble and a formidable look bristling with the trunks and hangers of a car. The command of the Afghan unit in Kunduz even appealed to the helicopter pilots with a request not to fly over their barracks, because after that they had to search and drive back the “sorbos” recruits who had never seen the terrifying “Shaitan Arba” who had fled in panic.
However, the enemy did not remain in debt, and the experience was not cheap. 23 February 1980, on the Day of the Soviet Army, a pair of Mi-8T captains Lyamtsev and Vakulenko from the 280-th separate helicopter regiment had to fly out in search of a caravan noticed near Kandahar. Focusing on the sand track, the Mi-8 quickly went out to the cars sheltered in the dunes and decided to “feel” them with machine gun fire. As soon as one of the navigators had to stick out his machine gun into the blister, a cover fell off the body of the nearest “Toyota” and under it a bearded man with DShK was found. He shot almost point-blank, and only miraculously managed to get rid of a pair of holes. The target was covered with a rocket salvo, but then the slave had to land nearby - oil leaked through a hole in the tank. There was nothing to patch the hole, and she was quickly plastered with clay, and reaching home.
"Eight" on maintenance work in the TEC of the 280-th ORP. Kandahar, spring 1980
The ensigns of the armament group and the recent KhAI boarding engineer graduate Mikhail Kel. A PKM machine gun was installed at the door of the G8, and an army-style bullet-proof vest was mounted on the lieutenant.
In the parking lot of Kandahar six months later. Blocks on Mi-8 suspenders are already pretty smoked.
In April, the 1980 of the Mi-8, the political officer of the squadron of the 181-OVP V. Kopchikov, who was hit by enemy fire, sat down on the central square of the Romuanishi village, which had been forced directly. To the rescue of the crew went komeska major V. Shcherbakov. From the air helicopter pilots covered a pair of captain V. Obolonin, circling over the village. It was difficult for the NAR to operate, since the helicopter that had landed was directly among the Duvalians and there was a risk of hurting their own. It was helped by the presence on board of machine guns installed in the doorway, with fire from which the flight equipment cut off the enemy, preventing him from approaching the wrecked helicopter. Having sat down beside him, Shcherbakov took the crews away and, shooting back, left the fire.
PKT machine gun became a faithful and reliable weapon of helicopter pilots
Literally the day before, 30 in March 1980, under similar circumstances, V. Obolonin and the deputy commander of the 181 regiment, Major V. Gainutdinov, had to rescue the crew: another wounded Mi-8. Captain Y. Vlasov's car made an emergency landing in the Faizabad gorge near Bakharak, in the most dushman places where it was unsafe to fly. A flight engineer was killed in the commander’s crew while attempting to sit next to him, but Obolonin managed to pick up pilots of the downed Mi-8, literally snatching them from under fire, and escape, fighting off machine guns.
Gradually, the enemy gained strength. The appearance of foreign soldiers in a country overflowing with weapons and preserving the experience of numerous wars began to heighten the situation, quickly giving the conflict the character of jihad against the infidels. The armament of the opposition changed qualitatively and quantitatively; Arab countries that supported her and the West set up deliveries of the latest assault rifles and machine guns that replaced their grandfather sabers and 2 “drills”, and professional instructors and advisers began to teach military affairs.
For the “real war,” into which the Afghan campaign quickly grew, the armaments of the “eights” needed to be strengthened. Without waiting for the decision “from above”, the helicopter pilots made independent attempts to refine the machines. Apparently, the first such refinement was the installation of machine guns on the Mi-2, which did not have their own weapons: a pair of these helicopters, used in the Shindand 302 OVE for reconnaissance and communications, already in winter received an on-board PC at the door. There were also more ambitious proposals, relying mainly on the weapons obtained from the neighbors and their own tool and locksmith capabilities. For example, in Kandahar, they tried to mount a powerful 8-mm automatic gun GSH-23L borrowed from fighters, and a commander V. Sidorov even offered to attach an 23А73 Thunder 2-28 “Thunder” with BMP-XNUMNXXM under a fuselage with a fighter. in the air, but they did not dare to go for it - the design of the helicopter would obviously not withstand recoil.
In April 1980, Marat Tishchenko, General Designer of the Milevsky Design Bureau, visited the helicopter units with a group of test pilots. A close acquaintance spurred developments carried out with commendable speed, and already in June, factory brigades began installing an enhanced version of the armament and defense on the Mi-8. Its foundation has become tank version of the Kalashnikov PKT machine gun equipped with an electric trigger (there was also a mechanical trigger, but an electric trigger was preferable in terms of “sensitivity”). At the same time as the “handbrake”, the PKT caliber favorably differed in a more powerful cartridge (the rifle cartridge 7,62x53P was used, which had more than twice the charge of gunpowder than the “short” submachine gun 7,62x39, and massive bullets - 9,6 —11,8 g versus 7,9 g for the machine gun cartridge, which provided the weapon with excellent ballistics). The barrel of the PKT was 1,2 kg more massive than that of its infantry brother PC, having a thick-walled “body”, which allowed for continuous fire without the risk of overheating and rapid wear. The machine gun possessed excellent characteristics, combining high rate of fire, great lethal force and accuracy of fire, which provided him with a reputation as a “sniper weapon”. The machine-gun line was effective not only against manpower, possessing a good "stopping effect" when meeting with cars in Dushman caravans and being able to disperse a rifle shelter. The amazing effect of a heavy PKT bullet allowed it to confidently pierce a steel sheet up to 6 mm thick at half a kilometer range.
It is noteworthy that it was precisely the tank machine gun that was chosen for the helicopter, although there were also special aviation systems, such as the four-barreled GSHG-7,62 that had just appeared, with a firing rate of up to 6000 rpm. Complicated weapons were too whimsical to work on a helicopter flying “lower and lower”, where it suffered from dust and insufficient cooling, familiar to the army model. In addition, the machine gun was very difficult to build, requiring qualified service and, in the literal sense, good technical literacy during operation, which soldiers-mechanics and warrant officers of the weapons group could not always boast. It happened that the “specialists” in the front-line units did not know how to approach an ingenious weapon with a frightening set of details, were confused when disassembling and assembling its mechanisms, and after all, cleaning with a complete disassembly and lubrication of the machine gun was required after each shooting. PCT in this regard was much more attractive, allowing anyone with a little more understanding fighter and mechanics to manage the maintenance and training, and the successful design brought to perfection over the years of operation made it a model of reliability. The latter circumstance turned out to be quite significant: the helicopter armament needed to be finalized in the shortest possible time, using available weapon models guaranteeing its efficiency and dependability, and there was no time for experiments with searches for original solutions that required indispensable and surely long-lasting refinement.
In the sight of the machine gun - the road in the vicinity of Kandahar. Patrol of the road was conducted in search of transport dushmanov. Summer 1980
Weapons of the same type removed and many supply problems, allowing you to replenish the supply of ammunition from the neighbors, infantrymen and tankers, get some spare parts, or quickly fix the damage. The choice made, as it turned out, was perfectly correct: the PKT fully justified itself as helicopter weapons, confirming the success of the decision in both the Afghan war and the events of subsequent years, being used without any changes in army aviation to date.
The set of improvements included a mobile PCT in the nose, mounted with a dust cover instead of the central section of the glazing of the cabin (fire from it was conducted by a flight engineer) and a pair of machine guns on the trusses from above. Another machine gun was placed on the swing frame in the rear emergency hatch of the right wing of the cargo compartment. His installation was a response to the increasingly frequent attempts to fire at an unprotected car from behind, especially when leaving the attack, when the pilots could not see the enemy. Place at the rear of the machine gun occupied by a flight engineer or specially taken aboard the stern shooter. Additionally, rear-view mirrors, like automobile mirrors, were installed on the sides of the cabin, a simple device that allowed pilots to observe the rear hemisphere and, if in danger, dodge fire by maneuver.
Captain Surnin's G8 delivered fuel to the troops conducting the operation. 1981 Winter
Mi-8 from 280-th ORP in operation at Anardara. March 1981
The front and rear machine guns were attached to mobile pivot installations using a pair of finger-latches and controlled using handles, vividly resembling the famous "Maxim". Shooting was carried out by means of electric release buttons located on the top of each handle; the reserve mechanical trigger was also provided in the middle. Since the PCT in its standard version did not have any sights (on tanks and armored vehicles for aiming the machine gun, it had its own built-in sight, which was not included in the weapon package), the simplest device from the front sight and the ring sighting frame were attached to the frame from the top. On the frame of the installation, the cartridge box was fixed, the receiver of the empty tape, and also the catcher of departing sleeves, which directed them to collect into the bag so that they would not fly anywhere and roll around the cab, threatening to jam the control and other troubles (including slip on sleeves spinning under your feet as you move around the cabin). The front machine gun also had a stopper for fixing the weapon and ensuring the firing of pilots, as well as adjustment screws for zeroing in this position. The stern machine gun with the frame could recline to the side, where it was fastened in the stowed position, freeing the escape hatch.
The appearance of a nose PCT immediately affected the work of a nearby compass, the pointer of which began to rush, it was enough to move the barrel. I had to clean the sensitive device away from the massive "iron", carrying on the side rack of the glazing. It was not very convenient to use the front machine gun: the flight engineer could not reach him from his seat - for this it was necessary to lower the lid of the central console in front of him, move forward and, sitting on his box, often on his knees, control the weapon (however considered irrelevant, determining that the war is not up to comfort). Actions were hampered by a breast parachute - they had to use it, since the main parachute remained in the seat cup. There was no seat on the sash at all, and it was possible to sit there only on some drawer.
Taking off from a field site in the desert required skill and experience so as not to crash a helicopter in an impenetrable dusty whirlwind.
The tapes alternated B-32 armor-piercing incendiary bullets, LPS steel-core bullets and BZT-44 and T-46 tracer bullets. Such a kit allowed to hit a variety of targets, including vehicles in caravans, and the share of "tracer" was usually at least one third of the ammunition. The first flights showed that relying solely on the sight is not worth it, and it is impossible to distinguish on the rocky ground, where the line goes, without the red lines clearly visible even on a sunny day. In order to get tracer ammunition when supplying them, they were exchanged from their neighbors, infantrymen and tankers, since the aviators had something to offer along the “barter” - the bars from the bombers, which were used for construction, and kerosene for heating were always appreciated. Usually, the ribbons numbered 250 cartridges for bow and stern machine guns, limited to the capacity of the cartridge box, but other crews preferred a stock of more impressive, so that in the heat of battle not to waste time on reloading. Tapes for this build up, getting ammunition of the desired size, 500 and more cartridges. Instead of a conventional cartridge case, such a “super tape” of four to five meters length was placed in a box of a suitable container or cartridge zinc, so that it fit in with a machine gun. In addition to regular solid "tank" tapes, tapes to a manual sample PC could be used, distinguished by the fact that they were assembled from pieces of 25 links. When firing, the “parking brake” tape passing through the weapon was divided into short fragments; so that they do not fly around the cabin, and one-piece empty tape does not crawl under their feet and “float” during helicopter maneuvers, the unit on the left had a box-shaped reflector plate that guided the shot tape down.
Installing a PC machine gun in the front right blister of Mi-8MT
The trusses carried one machine gun, mounted on a welded frame of pipes, attached to the suspended girder holders and the longitudinal elements of the truss on the bolts. Here on the installation frame housed boxes for cartridge tapes and the collection of empty tapes. There was no need to collect the spent cartridges from the truss machine guns, and they freely fell down, but the FCT tape power supply had its own peculiarity: under the conditions of the normal operation of the weapon, it was necessary to organize the tape feed to the receiver without any distortions, for which it was placed in the cartridge box parallel to the receiver (and across the weapon itself). This condition did not create any problems on tanks, armored personnel carriers and other land vehicles, since there was plenty of room to install a rather cumbersome box, as well as collecting tapes. The situation is different in aviation, where, in the usual way, the assembly volumes are constrained, the tape has to be brought from a remote cartridge box with bends and it must have sufficient hinge and fanning so that it can bend and twist in the required way. For the same reasons, the cartridge belt in an aviation weapon is made loose, during firing, being divided into separate links, which are carried away from the weapon, without creating any problems with the “recycling” of a sufficiently long and cumbersome plume of used tape.
The standard ribbon for the PKT machine gun was integral, non-crumbling, as in all other systems of army small arms (the said formation of a ribbon to a PC of a manual version of 25-link pieces, in fact, looked the same and was introduced for ease of use so that the hanging one was too thick long tape did not interfere with the machine gunner when dealing with the "handbrake"). In addition, the ribbon used sample did not allow any "fans" in its plane, which is not required for the army machine gun. When placed on a helicopter, this became a considerable problem: the cartridge box with the tape had to be placed next to the machine gun, perpendicular to the weapon, on the other side of which it was necessary to pile up the same size box-box.
Since the replenishment of ammunition for outdoor machine guns in flight could not be discussed, it was necessary to organize the placement for them directly when installing sufficient ammunition from 450 cartridges for each machine gun, which affected the impressive size of the cartridge boxes. As a result, the G8’s armament trusses crowned solid buildings of nearly a square meter across, protruding across the stream. The installations looked rather non-aeronautical constructions, contradicting every conception of aerodynamics and fairly increasing resistance, but there was no time to look for a more elegant solution (in the end, the main requirement was met - the weapon worked, and very reliably, and the installation itself turned out to be simple, allowing for the revision of the helicopters most promptly).
After separation from the sandy platform, the car should have been removed from the dust cloud, providing a normal overview for acceleration and climb.
The cartridge belt box and tape collector were removable and had strap handles on top for easy handling. Both of them were placed in the “basket” of the installation frame, preventing them from moving with its parts without any fasteners and brackets; from above, they were pressed in the simplest way - a pair of rubber rubber cords-shock absorbers attached to the ears on the frames, like a luggage on home carts. The adjustment of the truss machine guns was done in such a way that traces were reduced at a distance of 800 m. Recharging was carried out using two-meter bowden cables, brought into the cargo compartment, but in case of jamming or skewing the tape it was impossible to eliminate the failure (to be fair, it should be said that this happened infrequently ). It was not very convenient to work with weapons: to perform any procedure, be it the removal of machine guns for cleaning and lubrication or even the daily preparation of weapons with the installation of cartridge boxes or laying them with curved ribbons, we had to climb the trusses of the farm, balancing at the height of human growth.
The trusses for the Mi-8MT had a slightly different device, according to a different design of the suspension trusses: generally similar, they were attached to the truss pipes of the trusses and were above the extreme beam holders. It is curious that on the "emteshki" farm machine guns were of limited use and, at least, were less common than on the Mi-8T. This was partly due to the Mi-8MT’s own more powerful arsenal of weapons: unlike the previous modification, the car had six suspension points, could carry 32-charging units and other means of defeating new models, and more powerful engines made it possible to take more combat load specifications. There were also organizational reasons: improvements to the reinforcement of armaments at the G-8s were carried out at a time when just Mi-8T dominated in Afghanistan, and in the first place received machine gun installations. The mass arrival of the Mi-8MT fell at a later time, a couple of years later, when the Mi-40 helicopters appeared in sufficient numbers in the 24 Army Air Force. Combat helicopters, according to their purpose, were more often used for fire support; Thus, the acuteness of the issue for the “eights” was partially removed, and the Mi-8MT modification vehicles for the most part received only a couple of machine guns — fore and aft, which were literally necessary and already included in the original equipment.
In addition to machine guns, the G8s received an 30-mm infantry automatic grenade launcher ATS-17 "Flame", mounted in the doorway. At motorized riflemen, this formidable weapon, which possessed a high density of fire and a mounted trajectory that made it possible to cover the enemy in the trenches and on the reverse slopes of heights, was very popular, serving as real "platoon artillery." Among the undoubted advantages of a grenade launcher were also fragmentation ammunition, which ensured an effective defeat of manpower.
With the “real” cannons, the grenade launcher may not have looked very impressive, having a short range of order of 800 m, and a grenade weighing 275 g was 1,5 times lighter than a cannon-projectile of a similar caliber and did not have any effective punching effect that might need when meeting with a protected target. However, he fully complied with his purpose, being able to fire in bursts at a pace of up to 400 shots per minute, covering a vast area of continuous defeat. Each VOG-17 grenade (fragmentation grenade shot) provided man-made damage in 30 m2, 1,5 times more effective (with the same caliber) high-explosive fragmentation shells of the 242 automatic cannon mounted on the BMP-2.
What is said, “at hand” was the lightness of the AGS-17 (it was not for nothing that the aviation gunsmith did it): together with the supporting tripod, the weight of the grenade launcher was only 30 kg - this eliminated problems with its installation and mounting on the helicopter (the same 2А42 gun in “pure ", without attachments and feeds, weighed 115 kg). No less significant was that the return of the AGS-17 looked, by artillery standards, completely insignificant, and a grenade launcher without any restrictions allowed the deployment on board the helicopter (which could not be said about the guns - the recoil force of the artillery systems of this caliber, in the best case, reached 5 — 6 t, the blows of which were disastrous for the unsuitable and rather “delicate” design of the helicopter).
Suspension of the FAB-500М62 aerial bomb on the Mi-8МТ helicopter from the 3 squadron of the 181 ORP. The regiment received its first emteshki in early November 1980
Not surprisingly, the convenience and simplicity of the ATS-17 attracted aircraft designers and, without wasting time developing a special on-board version, they began to install the usual infantry model on a standard tripod machine on the Mi-8. The power was supplied from the tape in the drum on 29 VOG-17 shots with an 275-gram fragmentation grenade (the “non-round” number was due to the fact that, according to the characteristics of charging, the first link always went empty). Two more drums were placed in a canvas bag under the spare ammunition, fastened side by side on the left side. The final set of the factory set included wooden “shoes” for supports and extensions with which “Flame” was fastened to the floor, extinguishing its still tangible return for small arms, so that the twitching grenade launcher would not fly out of the cabin (when firing on the ground, the AGS jumped so that its supports I had to dig into the ground or straddle the machine, pressing my rigorous weapons with my weight).
It was necessary to fire the AGS by directing it forward along the flight with a corresponding lead in terms of distance and height, according to the speed of the helicopter and the trajectory of the flying grenades. Shooting from the circle was the most effective when the helicopter was laying a turn around the target, and it always remained in sight, allowing you to accurately point the weapon.
In one such case, a pair of Mi-8Ts with lead captain E. Surnin from 280-AFP, performing 11 June 1980, a search in the area south of Ghazni, stumbled upon an equestrian force in the foothills. Helicopters recently retooled under reinforced weapons, and the pilots had the opportunity to practice shooting. Bortekhnik M. Kehl, from the Volga “Russian Germans”, said: “They rode beautifully, like in the films about the Civil War, in turbans and cartridge belts, beshmets flew downwind. It was dived into a palm grove, but the commander laid a sharp turn around her, cutting off the path. Until they scattered, I covered the whole group with a short burst of grenades at ten. The goal was on sight, near, so that the fountains of ruptures were visible very clearly, lay down heap. They made another circle - not one rose, only the horse jumped out of the grove with its belly open, and she collapsed right there. ”
AGS-17 “Flame” on helicopters in the early years of the campaign was used quite extensively: for example, in the Mi-8 squadron of the Kunduz 181 AFP, which worked in 1981 in Faizabad, the consumption of ammunition to the AGS sometimes reached impressive figures: 6 February - 85 shots; February 8 - 82; 13 March - 300; 21 June - 261.
The cockpit body armor system, which was additionally covered with steel screens 5 mm thick, fixed on the external brackets, was also strengthened. Inside the armor was hung on the partition behind the pilots' seats, on the door from the cargo compartment, on the sides of the blisters, as well as on the floor and in the front under the dashboards (later these sheets were folded, on the hinges, “accordion” - to improve visibility and landing). A part of the helicopters was already equipped at the factory with a system for filling tanks with carbon dioxide, which prevented the danger of an explosion when hit: the cylinder was placed in the cargo compartment, but its capacity was small and the flight engineer opened the valve only when there was a threat of shelling.
In addition to the 180 kg of “regular” armor, the pilots themselves were usually placed under the feet or hung body armor on the walls of the cockpit: they still didn’t want to wear red-hot armor in the summer heat. They also sheltered an additional tank in the cargo compartment or held it under their feet at the aft firing point. Another measure of protection was spare parachutes, which were thrown at the lower panels of the glazing, hoping that the bullet would certainly get stuck in dense silk of compressed parachute fabric (this belief was by no means unreasonable - it often happened).
Emergency landing of Mi-8MT captain Pyzhkov from 181-th ORP. When landing at high speed, the helicopter demolished the left landing gear and fell on the block UB-32А, which saved him from tipping. Gulhana, 26 Jun 1981 g
At the second stage of the modifications, automatic shooting systems for ASO-2В infrared traps were installed, and then ejector-exhaust devices (EEDs) designed to protect against man-portable air defense missile systems (MANPADS) with heat missiles. If the revision of weapons in some parts and units was delayed, then both stages of conversion were carried out at once. Despite intelligence reports about the presence of anti-aircraft complexes in gangs, there were no cases of using MANPADS in the first year of the war, nor were they found among 3 trophies, which is why the already mounted "ears" of the EVA on the Mi-8T were often removed: tattered "eight" are palpable there was a lack of power, and the resistance of bulky boxes and excess 68 kg of weight became a burden.
Among the few subsequent changes to the factory modifications was the device of the machine-gun sight, originally made coarsely from a rather thick steel strip, the crosshairs of which completely blocked the target, making it difficult to catch it. A gap appeared in the middle of the cross (in some places it was immediately hand-sawn), where the fly was placed. Later, the sight became concentric with two rings, facilitating the tip.
It is noteworthy that the emphasis in strengthening weapons was placed on "anti-personnel" weapons. AGS machine guns and fragmentation grenades served primarily to fight manpower, because the destruction of the enemy remained the most reliable means of restoring order and “planting people's power” (as the final tasks of many operations were formulated). They did not spare funds for this: with standard ammunition in 400 — 450 rounds of machine guns, two boxes at the bow and so many — a dozen cartridge boxes took flight from the stern PCT, heaping piles of ribbons in them (co-worker and friend of Kehl already familiar to us The 280-th regiment, flight engineer T. Osadchy said: “The stock does not pull a pocket, but you feel somehow calmer”). In practice, machine guns differed favorably from the NAR by the possibility of prolonged work, which made it possible to make the necessary number of hits on the target, reloading the weapon over and over again, while after a few volleys of missiles, the empty blocks remained hanging uselessly. Sometimes, when the target turned out to be a particularly “tough nut” or had to work away from the base, they even took a supply of NAR and several bombs to the cargo compartment to re-arm the car, sitting down near the impact site.
A novelty for many pilots was the extensive use of bomb weapons. The G8 allowed the use of a wide range of aerial bombs in caliber from 50 to 500 kg, with the corresponding bombing target OPB-1P, but not all crews had practical experience in bombing. Meanwhile, in the arsenal of helicopter weapons, bombs were the most powerful means of destruction, and the current situation required their widest use. Not that the enemy had large forces, developed infrastructure or military equipment, which they prepared for in combat training at home - the local conditions themselves required literally sufficient means and forces to perform any combat task related to the need for fire impact.
The reasons were both features of the Afghan landscapes (mountainous areas with a large number of natural shelters and fortifications in the form of caves, crevices, rubble stones, etc.), and the peculiarity of the local architecture, where traditional buildings (thick-walled duvala, stone fortresses and even ordinary rural houses with adobe walls meter thickness) more consistent with fortifications. They served as safe havens for the enemy: firing points were set up under the cover of solid walls, which were extremely difficult to “smoke”. Machine guns and low-powered NAR in the fight against such objects were in many cases completely useless.
The appropriate means were bombs that allowed the destruction of even well-protected targets. According to combat experience, appropriate additions were made to the manuals on combat use in order to make the most effective use of army aviation. Thus, to defeat a typical target - a protected firing point in the mountains or a separate house - the required outfit of forces from six Mi-8 with armament of four high-explosive fragmentation bombs of OFAB-250 on each; in order to destroy a fortress or a duvaal with an enemy entrenched, one should distinguish the four Mi-8 with a pair of high-explosive bombs FAB-500 on each or, taking into account the weakened bearing properties in the heat and in the highlands, two links with weapons from the OFAB-250 pair on a helicopter ( make a reservation that these recommendations were calculated and normative for the “guaranteed defeat” of the enemy and observe them, setting off the designated number of machines to strike, few succeeded, usually treated with more modest forces, “acting according to the situation”).
Refinement of the Mi-8 included the installation of machine guns, booking a cabin and rear-view mirrors in blister pilots. 280-th ORP, March 1981
The work of helicopters as bombers had natural features in tactics, the intricacies of building a combat approach and aiming. When using bombing, OPB-1P had to be used - the venerable years were a device of military times, which was a periscopic tube with a sight, mounted in the floor at the navigator's workplace (it was hanging on the cabin wall in the stowed position). The pilots complained about the inconvenience in work and the low accuracy of aiming, which allowed to bomb only from horizontal flight. By the way, the first models of sights of this type were prototyped by the German Lotf FL 206 bomber sight specimen already 1926, provided for reproduction by the then German partners, and we will soon have the opportunity to celebrate the centenary of adaptation, which remains permanently in service with domestic aviation.
There were other details that should be taken into account. Very important was the observance of flight regimes during a bombing strike, which for a helicopter with its low speeds and altitudes was directly related to safety. Ignoring these moments threatened to fall under their own fragments, which had been scattered far enough away from the bombs and retaining a destructive force hundreds of meters away. Thus, in the “weave” bombs, the fragments reached the height of 600 m, while in bombs of 250 and 500 caliber they rose to the height of 900 m, which should be taken into account when organizing a strike (for comparison: when firing C-5 from helicopter blocks with a dive safe height was of the order of 50 — 75 m). Usually they bombed with the installation of slow-blow fuses, which allowed them to go a safe distance from the point of impact. However, anything happened ...
When performing the 26 July 1980 bombing, a pair of Mi-8 came to blow, keeping at the 50-meter height. The leader bombed on the target, but the follower who followed immediately went right under the breaks and received a full charge of shrapnel: tanks, a flight deck, were stitched, even trusses of a suspension were pierced. Fortunately, the fragments passed the pilots, but the helicopter came out of the attack with a whitish train - the kerosene literally poured out, diminishing at such a rate that after a couple of minutes the “emergency remnant” caught fire in the cockpit and had to land right next to the bombardment site. While the partner was covering from the air, holding back the fire of the dushmans, the crew hastily patched the tank, sealing the holes.
20 September 1980. Faizabad helicopter pilots received an order for an urgent strike on a target in a nearby village, where a council of Dushman was gathered. To complete the task went the link Mi-8, three of which carried the blocks, and one decided to hang bombs. Unfortunately, their reserves in the squadron were running out and had to pick up all the remnants. Everything that was on Mi-8T was suspended: two high-explosive high-explosive OFAB-100-120, one OFAB-250-270 and tucked thick-walled FAB-250T. A thick-walled bomb with a robust cast head made of high-quality steel was intended to destroy fortifications and protected targets, but not for use from a helicopter, with even a different three-arm suspension. However, it was not necessary to choose, and a powerful plan was adapted to the helicopter. Bombs were thrown one at a time, from a height of 50 — 70 m, setting the fuses to 12-second “low-altitude” deceleration. We hadn’t had a chance to deal with “hard metal” bombs, and when the turn came, the flight engineer decided to look out the door of the cargo compartment - they say, if we jerk better than usual, we will continue to work with such ones.
Afterwards he said: “She rushed right after hitting the ground, right under the helicopter. The fuse turned out to be with a defect or the gunmen screwed up something there, but we did not have time to move away. As soon as I stuck my head out to look down, it crashed ... The helicopter threw everything in smoke and dust, turned around - oh my God, from the cup of the seat they stick out with two "rosettes" parachute pieces. The shards passed through him. One went right through the ceiling, and the other sat down in the engine coke, then they dig out a torn piece of metal, about one hundred grams in it. Other fragments have made holes in the tanks, gearbox, blades, the tail has been punched, the holder and the front pillar have touched, even the engine has got. Something like tanks pozatekali rags and the last drop pulled home. In total, the 42 holes were counted, a month was spent on repairs. ”
Installation of PKT truss machine guns on the Mi-8. Ammunition truss machine guns was on 450 ammunition for installation
26 June 1981. Mi-8T from the 280 regiment was lost during the bombing of its own bombs. They bombed Zelenka along the river northwest of Kandahar, carrying out bombing from 50 meters. The helicopters carried a pair of OFAB-100-120 and a pair of OFAB-250-270, however, due to an error in the equipment of the bombs, the fuses were set to instantaneously trigger (it was enough just to unscrew one screw ...). When dumping, the very first “weaving” broke off right under Captain G. Govtvian’s helicopter. The machine stitched by splinters “fell down” down onto the forced one, landed while landing in the aryk and broke the front rack. All three pilots were injured, moreover, from the nearby villages to the fallen car already hurried dushmans. Other crews came to the rescue of the pilots, but the maimed G-8 had to be burned on the spot.
Available on board means of destruction ensured continuity of impact on the target during the attack. Thus, rockets from a safe range 1300 — 1500 m suppressed resistance, followed, often in the same approach, destroyed duvalas and shelters with a bombing strike, without ceasing to water the target with machine-gun fire.
The helicopter pilots of the 50 regiment used 56400 NAR and 1328 bombs for the first year of the war, with an average of 537 sorties per crew, 2088 bombs used by NAR and 49. In total, 1980 NAR was used up by the 40 Army Air Force 634862 (the engineering department of the Air Force provided a slightly different figure — 641000 missiles prepared, mostly C-5 of various types). As for the cartridges, they were written off in a rampart, recalling with a grin how several months ago it was necessary to account for their expenditure, presenting the spent cartridges to the account. It is indicative that the consumption of machine gun cartridges for the PCT in the reporting on ammunition of the Air Force Headquarters was not even taken into account, unlike other “accountable” means of destruction - they simply delivered the required amount of ammunition upon request.
At first, the registration of machine guns was strictly conducted, the use of outdated barrels was not allowed, the PCT device provided for a change in case of overheating and wear, for which there was a replaceable barrel in the configuration of the machine gun. Soon it was not the time for “accounting”: the helicopter pilots made five to six sorties a day, spending at the airfield and in the air on 15 — 18 hours, and the main burden was on those responsible for the training of flight engineers and “aggressors” (as the armed men called). Attention to restrictions is not paid, if only the machine guns worked properly. The PCT turned out to be a very reliable weapon, blocking all the prescribed standards and properly carrying the heat and dust penetrating everywhere, capable of sharpening details, like an abrasive. Supervision was required only by the trigger mechanism and electric release, the wear and tear of which led to the possibility of accidental operation, due to which an unexpected line could have been heard during a hard landing. Sometimes, processing reached the point that the bolt frames began to bend.
The intensity of ammunition consumption can be judged at least by the following example: March 11 1981, the Mi-8 link from Faizabad, when performing an ordinary task of escorting a column, spent 806 C-5KO missiles, 300 grenades to the AHS-17 and 14200 of machine-gun cartridges (more than GNUMX, AGNS-XNUMX and XNUMX of machine-guns, more than ammunition rounds, more X-guns, XNUMX grenades to AGS-XNUMX and XNUMX, machine-gun patrons, more ammunition cartridges (more). full tapes!). Captain Sergeev’s flight commander’s helicopter returned with eight bullet holes. Damage, including holes in the blocks, received and other machines.
26 May 1981 g. With a combined strike attacked the base, where she stopped to rest a gang. A house with dushmans and two Mi-8T and Mi-8MT pairs built nearby were swept away with four high-explosive "five hundred" and 255 C-5KO missiles. After that, 58 fragmentation grenades from AGS-17 and a barrage of machine-gun fires fell on the ruins with all those who managed to survive.
Only one dozen of the “eights” of the Faizabad squadron of the 181-AFP in the “hot” season used a five-ton truck of cartridges monthly. The “development” of bombs and missiles, especially those who grew up during the days of operations that followed the everyday escort of vehicles, support for the troops and hunting for gangs, was a match for them.
The operation to assault Sangiduzdan Mountain, which had a gloomy reputation as a predatory nest, “Mountains of Thieves”, whose caves were chosen by gangs who governed the district, gained fame. The first time, in May, 1980, who sat down there dushmans with the support of howitzers and rocket artillery beat out a week, but soon they returned to their shelters. The re-storming of the mountain, on the maps referred to as the “2700 mark,” launched on August 23 with the support of the strengthened Mi-8 helicopter squadron and the Mi-24 link, was completed by the end of the day. A dozen G-8s bombed the mountain FAB-500 and burned the incendiary ZAB-100 with a shower of 2107 rockets on the slopes. Sangiduzdan was able to take the price of the death of one of our radio operator, who was at the aircraft carrier, and several wounded.
However, as the use of helicopter armament began to be revealed and its shortcomings, especially tangible in the heating situation. Evaluated the strength of aviation, the enemy began to pay due attention to air defense. In the dushman detachments and in guarding the bases of the rebels, 12,7-mm DShK machine guns and even more powerful 14,5-mm PGI units that could hit an air target at an altitude of up to 1300 — 1500 m and range in 1500 — 2000 m were increasingly encountered. On-board machine guns "Turntables" did not give the desired advantage, yielding large-caliber weapons in all respects - the 50-gram bullet DShK (not to mention the heavier 14,5-mm) kept lethal force far beyond the range of aimed fire. Even if the massive bullet did not pierce the armor, it would poke out pieces from its back side, and a stream of secondary fragments flew into the cabin.
The meeting with the "welding", as they called large-caliber machine guns for the characteristic flash of shots, more than once turned tragically. In the 280 regiment of 23 in July 1980, the crew of Captain N.G. Epifanova. In the operation near Kandahar, the pilots performed the task of adjusting artillery fire and, circling over the village of Spinahula, came under fire from a disguised machine gun. The queue with a couple of hundred meters fell right along the cockpit, hitting the pilots, the car abruptly went down and exploded on the outskirts of the village.
Ejector exhaust devices of an early sample on the nozzles of the engines Mi-8T 280-th ORP. Kandahar, March 1981
Just a week later, on July 31 1980, during the landing of troops south of Ghazni Mi-8, Captain M. Troshev, from 280, the AFP received a line-up from DShK in focus. Bullets flashed tanks, engines and smashed electrical accessories. The navigator Sergey Antonov later recalled: “They burned terribly, all overboard: flaming kerosene poured through the cargo compartment, there was heat in the back, and black smoke was eating my eyes. I could only see the horizon line in front of me, I did not see the commander for the cloud of soot, and only by the movement of the handle I felt that I was near. The car last time helped us out, lasted a minute while walking towards the ground. They sat blindly, nuzzling a boulder. She exploded as soon as we ran off to the side. We could not recognize us in the eight that picked up the “faces and hands were covered with greasy fumes, so only eyes and teeth glittered ...”
21 on April 1981, while conducting reconnaissance along the border near the village of Bal-Murghab, a border guard helicopter came under fire, and one of the bullets that went into the cockpit from below broke the control stick and hit the face of commander Captain G. A. Tkachev. Major Y.K., the navigator, managed to control the falling “eight”. Averchenkov, reaching home the helicopter.
In the lead snowstorm, luck sometimes came to the rescue: Major V. Obolonin from the 181 ORP at one departure in the spring of 1981, by a miracle, escaped two “his” bullets. As soon as the pilot leaned over to look around, one of the bullets passed at his back, the seat was gaping, and the other, straight in the face, broke through the glass and sat down in the artificial horizon, knocking his ball out. The commander of the 280 regiment, Major V. Sidorov, turned out to be just as fortunate, who, when disembarking an inspection team at a caravan in the Registan, with a bullet that pierced the cabin “trimmed” his hair. His navigator was wounded in the neck, and the flight engineer had to cover the waste, fighting off the light machine gun.
The cumbersome installation of truss machine guns affected the helicopter's flight characteristics: bulky boxes of ammunition and tapes standing across the stream significantly slowed down the helicopter, “eating” speed and maneuverability. Not very successful was the installation itself - on extreme pylons with a large separation from the aiming line, which affected the accuracy of the fire (on the Mi-8T the separation of machine guns between them was 5 m, and on the Mi-8МТ even more than six).
For the accuracy of fire and ease of operation, placing machine guns at the sides seemed more advantageous, where they could be organized to transport tapes from the cargo compartment, but at the G-8 they were hampered by the suspension truss braiding, which made the machine guns farther away for free a place. The accuracy of fire was also hampered by the characteristics of the helicopter’s flight dynamics: its characteristic feature is flying with a slight heel and glide, designed to compensate for the lateral component of the tail rotor thrust. In addition, the machine guns were subjected to a fair vibrations inherent in the rotary-wing machine, which, combined with the insufficient rigidity of the cantilever mounting of the installation on the extreme pylons, had the most negative effect on the accuracy of fire.
It can be argued that in the same conditions of shaking and other interferences, the suspended missile units also worked, however, by definition, they were the weapon of volley fire, and even with aimed shooting they assumed area targets; with this in mind, the fire control system also worked, releasing at the “eights” with one press of the combat button at least eight rockets at a time. In addition, the rockets did not require a direct hit (unlike machine guns), and with sufficient power of a 1.5-kilogram warhead, their breaks hit the target, even lying nearby. For small arms, accuracy, on the contrary, is crucial for the effectiveness of fire, but machine guns on farms, at best, could lead "irrigation" shooting in the direction of the target.
Not very effective was the fixed installation of weapons, which required pointing the entire machine and keeping the direction to the target during the entire fire contact. The nasal PCT remained more convenient, allowing it to fire in a fairly wide range of forward heading angles, without changing the direction of flight and without constraining the pilot in the maneuver. Another reason was the excessive time of equipment for machine-gun ammunition: the speed of preparation and reduction of labor intensity came to the forefront, while for each of the four “trunks” it was necessary to sort out the cartridges, clean them of grease and litter and stuff them into endless piles of ribbons. As a result, in some places, external PCTs began to be filmed already in 1981, and by 1984, there were practically none on the eights. In the summer of 1984, the 280 regiment, which still continued to fly the Mi-8T, had only one remaining helicopter with such an installation. Apparently, the last such helicopters were several “elderly” Gaznian Mi-8Ts, flying with external machine guns at the beginning of 1985, especially noteworthy because they were considered “strong” machines thanks to well-adjusted engines.
"Eight" of the zamkomesk 280-th OVP Major N. Babenko. For the cockpit glazing, the front armor plates are clearly visible, but for some reason the rear-view mirrors were removed from the pilots.
On the landing, where the helicopter sat down with difficulty and constant winds walked, the crew did not turn off the engines, keeping them on the “small gas” in readiness to take off.
The bow and stern installations went through the whole war without any changes, although they had a number of drawbacks. So, when firing from the nose FCT, powder gases and smoke from burning grease filled the cabin, which had to be aired, opening blisters (an insignificant, it would seem, the moment was capable of causing great trouble - powder with a sweetish aftertaste had a toxic effect on the body, right up to poisoning and loss of consciousness). But it was little things compared to the hassle that the stern firing point, which was located in the emergency hatch, delivered. The latter, by its purpose, opened “once and for all,” especially on the Mi-8T, where it just flew out when it was tilted. Having lost more than one cover, they began to remove them, leaving them on the ground before departure, but while taxiing through the meter-wide opening of the hatch, dust and debris sucked, as if with a vacuum cleaner, and it was impossible to breathe in the cabin.
In the end, on the emteshki the hatch became “reusable” and was dumped inside, although it was still impossible to put it in place in flight. Many preferred to fly without a hatch at all, covering the hole with a piece of plywood or duralumin; there were also more ingenious solutions by local craftsmen, who made the hatch opening on hinges from the shell boxes with a rubber tube seal and door handles. Even earlier, “from heaven to earth” they returned AGS-17, which, with a change in the tactical situation, increasingly began to reveal “incompetence”. First of all, specific service conditions of aviation armament affected, the general requirements for which remained high rate of fire, allowing you to hit the target in a few moments of contact at high speeds, as much as possible a large mass of a second salvo, making a defeat reliable, and a high initial velocity of bullet or projectile conditions of accuracy and firing range. For all these parameters, the AGS was far behind the air cannons. Thus, with an 30 mm caliber equal to him, the Mi-24P cannon GS-2-30K mounted helicopters had a five times higher rate of fire and had an order of magnitude more “heavy” second salvo (17,3 kg versus 1,7 kg) with twice the target range . The aimed fire from a grenade launcher itself was problematic: it was put on a helicopter without any sight that was useless in the air, because the field of view of standard optics was too small to shoot in motion and it was almost impossible to see the target, and no corner grids to correct for speed he did not have. In the parts they tried to install a self-made rear sight with a front sight, but they did not give the effect, and the fire had to be carried out with an eye on the first break.
A short-bomber grenade launcher sent a “blunt-topped” grenade at a low speed (it could be seen in flight), and it flew to the target for several seconds. The initial speed when firing was comparable to the speed of the helicopter itself, which is why when shooting sideways it was necessary to take a very big lead in advance, including the height, because the trajectory of the grenade was "mortar". Shooting "offhand" aggravated the installation of AGS in a narrow door, and the bulky tripod was able to fit only in the depths of the cabin, which caused the weapon to move half a meter from the opening and narrowed the view and the shelling sector even more. As a result, the shooter who noticed the target had very little time for aiming and, in order to cover the enemy, it was necessary to “correct” the line, watching the breaks (as when firing from a machine gun), but this was hampered by impressive recoil and the same low initial speed. For a guaranteed defeat, it was necessary to launch 10 — 15 grenades, and during this time the helicopter went forward on 100 — 200 m, and the queue had to be terminated already back in flight. The shooter could connect to the SPU shield next to the door (another similar shield was mounted at the rear hatch) so that the pilot, having shot out, could “transfer” the target to him, but this interaction was good in theory and did not remove the problems with aiming.
The best conditions for shooting were provided from the circle, when the helicopter described a turn of constant radius, in the center of which the goal remained - the “center of rotation”, where the weapon was constantly directed, which hit at one point. However, such a maneuver was difficult in the mountain canyons and unsafe over the hostile villages, because the helicopter put the belly under the queue because of the neighboring duvali. The most practical was a quick strike from a flat dive with an exit from attack with a steep turn-around with altitude, and the fire from the door or rear hatch prevented shooting, but the grenade launcher was not suitable for such a reception.
Later, when there was a special version grenade AG-17A (216P-A) for outboard helicopter nacelle MBG, low rate and "trench" ballistics remained its Achilles' heel: when firing at sighting distance 700-800 m due hinged trajectories had bully the nose of the helicopter, losing speed, and to spend a full load of 300 ammunition ammunition failed in five or six visits. It was possible to do this except hovering, however, this possibility is becoming more and more popular in popular literature and adventure films depicting the actions of helicopters from ambushes: the obstacle was the dynamics of the helicopter itself, capable of hanging only with a fair pitch angle, which prevented aiming. The impact, contributing to loss of height and spread, had its influence, and given the natural desire of the pilot to use the advantages of maneuver and speed in battle without looking like a fixed target, the preference and the very possibility of shooting, including from small arms and NAR, became obvious from a “normal” flight, realizing the “speed — maneuver — fire” formula known from wartime.
Unsafe handling of ammunition added problems in the use of PBXs: the instantaneous detonator VMG-A did not have the degrees of protection provided for aviation equipment, which made it necessary to conduct firing with an eye to the weather. It was forbidden to use ATS in rain and snow, when a grenade with an overly sensitive fuse could burst in the air immediately after the shot. Another disadvantage was the purely fragmental nature of the lesion, effective only in the open and not suitable against even lightweight shelters (however, the grenade was created specifically for the fight against manpower and in this role was quite successful). Although a bag for a couple of replaceable stores was hung next to the PBX, they rarely took the second ammunition with them, because it was quite difficult to replace the pood drum alone in the cabin leaving from under their feet.
Installation in the doorway made it difficult for pilots and fighters to enter and exit. It was possible to squeeze next to the AGS with the hanging drum to get into the cabin (or get out of it), it was possible only sideways. Dismantling the entire AGS with the machine took, at best, 5 — 6 minutes, and in emergency cases, when there were seconds left to rescue, the crew had to rely only on the movable cabin blisters. The emergency service that blocked the door made it impossible to disembark the paratroopers, which was also hindered by all sorts of supplies, which they were loaded with when they entered the operation - from weapons and ammunition to food and sleeping bags. Meanwhile, landing, along with transportation, remained the most important task of the G8s (they accounted for more than half of all sorties). No matter how attractive the fire support of the assault force was, it was not possible to remove and re-install the three-pod collar in flight.
It must be said that this was another manifestation of the Mi-8 - the only landing door that remained literally a bottleneck of the car. They rarely used the rear flaps, because their opening and closing manually took up to 10 minutes, and for this it was necessary to leave the helicopter and be at the tail of the car from the outside - for an unacceptably long time under fire, which often met troops. The question was sometimes resolved, generally removing the sash and opening the cargo compartment, the opening of which was covered only by the safety net. Only in 1996, in the thirtieth year of operation of the helicopter, the plant was able to enter another door on the right and replace the flaps with a hinged ramp.
High density of fire, it would seem, could be provided by arrow-paratroopers using their own and airborne weapons. However, they were far from always on helicopters, and the tasks for attack and landing were often not the same. For example, in the course of the operation to destroy the enemy's base area in the province of Fariab in the north of the country in January 1982, about fifty helicopters were involved in the landing of 1200 troops, as well as eight X-NUMX Soviet and X-NUMX Afghan Mi-30T, as well as eight Mi-12). Despite the provision of the landing operation by solid air forces that were supposed to clear the landing zone, the enemy retained fire weapons there, and two G-8s were shot down right on the landing sites.
In the November 1985 operation in Kandahar province, helicopters landed 19 tactical assault forces with a total number of 2190 people, performing 508 sorties, and conducted 127 air strikes during the same time. Of the total number of departures, 31% was occupied by fire support, and 69% was by landing and securing troops, for which the main task was by no means
Missile volley with C-8 shells from a Mi-8МТ helicopter (52 board). 335 th OBVP. Jalalabad surroundings, 1987 g
not strengthening of small arms "board". The risk at the same time was too great, because in the crashed helicopter the entire detachment of paratroopers could have died together with the crew. The G8 itself was far from being used in the best way, and the enemy's suppression was given away to more effective means — combat helicopters, attack aircraft, and artillery. During the landing of assault forces on one of the 23 sites in November, Mi-8MT helicopters, captains Kapitonov and Domrachev, were shot down (helicopters were burned, the crews managed to leave the vehicles). The commander of 280-OVP Col. Yu.V. Filyushin, after an unsuccessful start, decided to personally head the landing, but his Mi-8MT came under fire and exploded in the air, killing everyone on board. Losses, as noted in the analysis of the operation, were the result of poor organization of actions, unpreparedness of the leadership and inability to distribute forces when meeting with anti-aircraft resistance. Another drawback was the lack of preparation of the landing force for firing from the helicopter with the support of the landing.
For any effective firing from the air, the arrows onboard needed certain skills, since firing from the air had a number of features: to hit the target from the rushing helicopter, vibrating and swaying, became difficult, requiring some experience and skill (as they said, " it's easier to get around on the carousel. ") Who and how was to train the infantry and paratroopers remained an unsolvable task - for this they had to redraw the flight plan and assign special sorties, organizing the rise of fighters in the air and training in firing, which was not said in the course of combat training. For the "ordinary and untrained", not accustomed to take into account the speed and maneuver of the machine, corrections for wind and drift flow from the screw, the hit was a matter of chance.
For example, navigator A. Bagodyazh from the 239 OVE described his first experience in this way: “In the patrol under Ghazni, a group of“ spirits ”was noticed behind the slope. I opened the blister and began to water them from the machine. With the slave Mi-8 also shot a “rule”. They fired so that the earth below was already boiling from the fountains. Then I shot three “horns”, and when the special forces jumped out and took “spirits”, it turned out that only one shoulder was shot through. ”
But firing through blisters that had no sector restraints turned more than once with lumbago firing elements of the design elements of their own car. In particular, by August 1980, almost all of the Mi-8Ts had holes from their bullets in Faizabad, and at one of them the navigator managed to take a turn to blow up the LDPE, and the other pilot, hitting the armor that defended him, was nearly hurt by ricocheted back turn. 17 in May 1982 was the case when the propeller blades were flashed from the PKT machine gun, fortunately, only the end cell cells were crushed (this happened at the beginning of the well-known Panjshir operation, which attracted remarkable forces, but the losses turned out to be sensitive - the first day of the offensive action helicopters with combat damage of a particular severity were considered dozens).
Mi-8MT from the 205-th EIA at the landing site of the inspection team in the desert. The helicopter carries two UB-32A units - a weapon variant prescribed in the conduct of reconnaissance and inspection activities.
There was no one time to teach the shooters: the instructions simply did not provide for such an opportunity. After the first months, when many were not averse to “fly up” in the role of a shooter, having tried the sensations of “real combat”, the war entered into a rut, becoming daily, everyday and exhausting work for helicopter pilots. There was no possibility of typing side shooters "from one's own" - there were enough cases at the airfield, and the merciless heat and dust exhausted people to the utmost (by the end of the first year of the war, almost one-fifth of the flight crew of the medical board wrote off almost one-fifth of the flight work, due to nervous system disorders). It became increasingly obvious that to be a side gunner was a job for which a professional was needed.
Somewhat earlier, the Americans encountered the same problems during the Vietnam War. Engaged in strengthening the weapons of helicopters, the "Yankees" went the same way, increasing the number of "trunks" on board, but with significant amendments. First of all, this was due to the design features of their cars, the cargo cabins of which were initially equipped with impressive doors, and their openings on both sides wide open almost the entire cabin - just recall the most common IH-1 UH-200. In addition, the machine-gun turrets themselves were hung out on the outboard brackets from the outside, providing almost XNUMX-degree fire zones along the sides from nose to tail. In the arsenal of helicopter pilots there was a wide range of weapons, including machine guns, grenade launchers and air cannons in various installations. The machine guns, including the outer ones on the suspensions, had tape feed from the cab, where you could load the required number of cartridges.
No less than tactics and landscape features, the armament of the American “gunships” bristling with the trunks corresponded to the spirit of the GI, who were not accustomed to denying themselves extra hundred missions and tons of dropped bombs. The US helicopter grouping in Vietnam exceeded the 40 Army's air force by an order of magnitude, reaching 3000 of rotary-wing machines of various types against the 300 maximum of Soviet “turntables” to 1988. Corresponding means and scope of the fight against elusive partisans — the fire shaft that squinted the jungle. The onboard shooter’s response to a journalist who asked where he directs the fire in the impenetrable thickets below was famous: “Now, sir, I’m shooting where I haven’t shot yet!”
Assessing the role of air gunners, the Americans approached the issue in a business-like and thoughtful way by organizing training for a new military specialty, whose name sounded in English with exhaustive precision, indicating the workplace - Aerial Door Gunner, i.e. air door shooter. There were many requirements for the candidate, including 111 items in physical form only, with a special focus on vision, color perception and hearing. The training course included the skills of handling small arms of various calibers and systems - from a pistol and an infantry rifle with a bayonet to a grenade launcher, as well as studying the subtleties of aiming, all kinds of optics and night vision devices, mastering the work on different types of helicopters, the ability to observe and search for targets from the air . People were selected for the position with initiative and commanding tendencies, because their duties included directing paratroopers on board and covering the landing, for which the side shooters learned the basics of offensive and defensive combat tactics. The training course also included compulsory harassment for survival in the jungle, including skills for orienteering the terrain, which was by no means superfluous in the very “last resort”.
There was no shortage of proposals of this kind here either, but the appearance of “machine-gunners” on helicopters was hindered by purely domestic problems. The introduction of a new position on board, which demanded that the shooters be set up for flight allowance, providing them with uniforms, as well as the inevitable changes in documentation, taking into account the flight time and recalculated service, were hopelessly stuck in headquarters. With the advent of another crew member, it would also take a third more overalls, headsets, parachutes and other property, although it was abundant in warehouses, but reluctantly let go of suppliers (until the very end of the war in Afghanistan, the same standards for wearing clothes and in the “court” parts of the union districts, which is why the returning looked like natural ragged in somehow-like hemmed overalls and patched shoes). As a result, there was no one to attach to the weapons on board, and this work was continued by the indispensable flight engineer.
To a large extent, the listed problems depreciated even the weapons available on the Mi-8: the crew had enough of their duties, an impressive list of which included, in addition to preparing the helicopter, equipping it with ammunition, monitoring the work of ground-based technical services, loading and unloading during transport and amphibious operations, monitoring in the air, watching over the paratroopers and their disembarkation. During the attack the flight engineer fired from the bow machine gun, he also had to handle the PBX. Often in the role of "servant of two masters," a crew member did not have time to run across to the stern machine gun, covering the car at the exit of the attack. Responsibilities had to be redistributed: the pilot and the navigator took over the course weapon, and the flight engineer watched the side angles and tail hemisphere, taking place, by circumstances, at the door or the rear hatch.
The hefty sluggishness of the entire military machine, which continued to prepare for the Third World War, but was unable to solve many smaller problems, also played its role. Year after year, combat training was reduced to working with the same few types of ammunition. As a result, the “seconded to the war” pilots and equipment, only after entering Afghanistan, for the first time met with many new, sometimes accumulated in considerable quantities in the warehouses of models, rushed to supply the air forces of the 40 army.
Most unfamiliar bombs and rocket projectiles possessed features that required the skills and knowledge of "little tricks" to equip and even hang up, not specified in any documentation. However, the leadership never did get to the gunsmiths, settling in the headquarters, and therefore it remained to rely on the replaceable councils and their own ingenuity. Especially important was the presence of the latter, since the “transfer of affairs” sometimes took only a couple of hours ...
More than once, such an organization led to curiosities: helicopters of the Kunduz detachment in one of the first sorties "bombed" with blocks of rockets because of confusion during the suspension - the UB found themselves on "bombing" locks, and the bombs on "rocket".
The gunsmith V. Paevsky recalled his concerns in the following way: “Once upon a time, several single Mi-6 were brought to us by one-time bomb cassettes of RBC-250-275 AO-1h, loaded with small kilogram bombs, which I had never seen before. Zinc with powder firecrackers to shove out the "stuffing" somewhere stuck together with conventional fuses. When dumping, RBC did not want to break, and we began to experiment in the vicinity of the airfield, throwing one at a time. After several unsuccessful attempts, my head knocked to inspect the remnants of the bombers, and a fat stencil was found on the end face - “VLADO PETARD!” By the same trial and error method we learned to prepare lighting SABs that did not want to flare up, but the instructions to them, as always, did not It was. The supplies could also be interesting: they somehow delivered two dozen OFAB-100 bombs, and all without a lanyard for hanging, even if you tied it with a rope. It’s not clear where such people came from, so they were lying around to no avail. ”
Pretty often, many restrictions were not respected, because they were considered not so important. So, few people paid attention to the combination of NAR of different types and parts of release in one block, although in many cases they had a rather bright “personality” and different ballistics. Overdue ammunition was also encountered, which went indiscriminately into the general shaft of weapons of destruction. Cartridges before charging had no time to wipe, and the packed tapes lay in heaps on the ground, although this threatened with weapon failures at the most inopportune moment. In the same Fayzabad, the bulky trenches dug by the tank into which the brought ammunition was dumped served as an ammunition depot. Careless relations were not forgiven for sensitive fuses and rockets with a powder charge, which, for all their reliability, required competent and respectful treatment. One of these cases occurred in May 1982, when a mechanic of an armament group, Ensign M. Manko in Bagram, was killed while equipping missiles.
It was not possible to get rid of such errors and shortcomings, which remained the same irremovable companions of combat work, like heat and dust around, until the last days. In the spring of 1988, the gunsmiths of Kandahar accidentally found among the regimental stocks a special sight for sighting machine guns, making, as they are not without humor, “a huge step along the path of progress”, because throughout the Afghan epic a screwdriver directed along the barrel properly served for this purpose!
With a qualitative increase in the air defense of the Mujahideen, the helicopters had to go to a height, where the airborne small arms lost importance. If possible, it was recommended to avoid overflight of zones saturated with anti-aircraft weapons, but many combat missions did not allow to avoid an open meeting with them. So, when departing for landing, it was often necessary to overcome the layered defense, the firing positions of which were dispersed in height and carefully camouflaged. The air defense system often included early detection posts and nomadic installations on vehicles that could meet aircraft anywhere.
From the accounts it was impossible to throw ambushes and fire snipers, who sought in the first place to hit the pilots. 48 — 50% of all damage to the Mi-8 was received at the landing sites, of which, in turn, 40 — 42% of the design holes were in the cockpit glazing and 10 — 12% on its contents (seats, panels and dashboards). The “drill” with a powerful patron and accurate combat kept its lethal force at an altitude of up to 2000. Considering the Lee-Enfield grandfather’s captured rifle, they found that the notches on its rear sight correspond to the target shooting distance of 2800 yards, i.e. 2550 m!
Mi-8MT leaves the high-altitude area. To leave the mountain “Pyatachkov”, where the usual take-off was impossible, the method of disruption was used, which allowed to accelerate to decrease and go on a normal flight.
Mi-8MT over the cave city of Bamiyan. Flying closer to the sights, the pilot-navigator keeps the blister open, ready to answer from his machine gun in the event of shelling.
Having acquired the skill, the Dushman anti-aircraft gunners tried to focus fire on the helicopter's cabin. If the “empty” hull and helicopter stern were usually pierced by bullets without much harm, then hitting the cockpit with the defeat of the crew often had disastrous consequences. Of the total losses of Mi-8 helicopters due to combat reasons, 39 — 41% small arms fell to the death or injury of pilots, 28 — 30% occurred due to the subsequent fire and explosion and 29 — 31% - as a result of loss of control. When meeting with an organized defense, the armor installed at the G-8s could not always protect the pilots. So, 22 August 1981, the helicopter returned from a flight with a hole in the bottom of the cockpit and a hole in the lower armor plate. Having knocked out a piece of armor right under the workplace of the bortekhnika, the automatic bullet went right through and sat down in his seat.
In October 1981, the border guards carried out an operation in the Koufab Gorge against a group of local “authority” Abdullah Vakhob, operating near the Soviet border. Aviation had to work in the highlands, landing troops at altitudes under 3500 m. The very first day of October 17 brought great losses: when disembarking an amphibious group at the Saydan site, helicopters came under fire from the ambush. A queue in the cabin mortally wounded in the chest the commander of the crew, Senior Lieutenant A.N. Skripkina. Navigator Captain V.P. Romanov took over control and managed to land a wounded helicopter, saving the lives of the others aboard, but already on the ground the “spinner” was finished with heavy fire and burned. In total, 19 people were killed during the landing operation, many helicopters were hit by enemy fire (in one they counted more than three dozen holes).
14 February 1982, the DShK's line was “pierced” by the Mi-8, which went kilometer-high. There were no losses, but both the car and its weapons were unlucky: ragged holes gaped all over the left side and tail boom, the outburst was a hanging tank, the fuel and oil systems were pierced, the main rotor side member, bullets tore out the floor of the cargo compartment. One of the UB-16-57 blocks got holes, even got in the AGS-17 cockpit, which was “hobbled” on the beds that had been killed by bullets. After a couple of days on a nearby helicopter, the dushman shooter managed to break through three barrels of the UB-32 block with shots from the “drill”.
15 April 1982, a pair of helicopters from the Jalalabad 335 regiment, which took off to take wounded paratroopers into Gardez, came under fire from snipers on landing. The very first bullet of the "borax", breaking through the windshield, hit right in the face of the crew commander. Senior Lieutenant S.A. Minin, who had more than 350 sorties by that time, died in the air, but his navigator managed to seize control and led the car to the airfield. The second Mi-8 captain Aleksandrov turned over right there on landing, however there were no casualties.
In the course of the landing in the Panjshir operation 17 in May, 1982 had to deal with powerful fire resistance. The two “eights” of the commander Major Y. Grudinkin and the commander of the squadron Captain A. Sadokhin, who were heading off, were shot down by heavy-caliber machine-guns at the beginning of the landing. The cause of the loss of the helicopter of the comask was multiple hits in the engines, gearbox and cockpit. After the incendiary bullets hit the zamkomeska machine, a fire started and the pilot himself was killed in the air. During the first three days of the operation, damage from anti-aircraft fire was received by the X-NUMX helicopter Mi-21, six pilots and paratroopers were killed. Slave commander Captain Shipunov, having come under fire from the DShK, returned to the battered helicopter: bullets ripped up the fuel tanks, shattered the electrical wiring, control thrusts and touched the cabin. The side armor plate turned out to be broken through, splinters of which wounded the right pilot and flight engineer. From the very commander, physicians removed small fragments from the face and hands of 8. It could have been worse: finally, already at the end of the flight, another massive bullet sank into the seat of the pilot, tore out a piece of the cup and remained in the parachute.
It was helping out the durability and reliability of the G8 design, which allowed the pilots to count on a sturdy machine further for damages of a literally catastrophic nature. Sometimes the helicopters returned beaten to such an extent that the rescue of the crew seemed incredible
On-site emergency landing Mi-8MT. The technical team examines the wreckage, removing usable parts. Next in the guard are the soldiers of the cover detachment. The remains of the G8, shot down in the Panjshir Valley. The repair group from the helicopter removed all more or less suitable units, the rest was taken away by the local population for use in the household
9 March 1987 Border Guards of the Pyanj Detachment conducted an operation to prevent shelling of Tajik border villages on the Soviet side. Captain N.V. helicopter Kalita landed paratroopers, who were supposed to block the path of withdrawal of dushmans. At the landing site, helicopters were attacked by an enemy horse group that had fired them with grenade launchers. One of the grenades exploded right in the cockpit of the helicopter, where all the pilots were wounded. His follower captain A.V. came to the rescue. Pashkovsky. After taking the seriously wounded Kalita to his side, he decided not to leave the commander’s car and fly away on it, entrusting the control of his helicopter to the navigator. The enemy continued to press, and during takeoff, the injured Mi-8 received two more grenades, one of which exploded in the fuselage in the gearbox area and damaged the hydraulic system of the helicopter, and the third, not exploding, sitting on the doors of the cargo compartment. At the same time, Pashkovsky also received fragmental wounds, but managed to bring the beaten helicopter to the Pyanj airfield. The houses in his car counted more than fifty bullet and fragmentation holes.
A year later, on February 10 1988, during the landing of troops on the enemy-controlled Mi-8 territory, deputy commander of the frontier aviation squadron, Major S.I. Bolgov received three direct hits from a hand grenade launcher. Grenade hits hit the right engine and helicopter board, riddling the cargo and pilot cabins. The pilot himself was contused by ruptures, but managed to lead a crippled helicopter on one working engine and put him aside. Unfortunately, the place there also turned out to be infested with dushmans: a driven-wing helicopter driven by captain Petrov immediately came under fire, receiving two dozen holes and a defeat of the left engine. Nevertheless, he managed to pick up the injured pilots, take off and go to the base on a single engine.
Sending to the homeland of the deceased crew of Major N. Babenko. The helicopter taking away the dead has shaded stars - traces of 280's AFP participation in a recent Rabati-Jali operation in April of 1982 g
Mi-8MT evacuated from the scene of the accident. The helicopter 205-th OVE was broken during the night landing at Farah 26 August 1986 g
The decisive argument in favor of the imminent "disarmament" of helicopters was that the improvements carried out, having accumulated, led to an increase in the mass of the helicopter. More than half a ton, the Mi-8T hardly took off with a full load and could only hang half a meter above the ground. The shortcomings became chronic and became intolerable, forcing them to remove the farm machine guns and AGS that had lost their effectiveness. It is significant that they left intact the means of protection: armor, ASO-2В and the Lipa thermal anti-aircraft missile that supplemented their jamming station, which sometimes allowed for the removal of voluminous EVE (this was done on the Mi-8T, which suffered from palpable engine weakness). As part of the small arms remained bow and indispensable to protect the tail of the stern machine guns, often supplemented by a spare "hammer" in the cargo compartment for firing through the door and side blister.
The use of the aft rifle installation in many cases made it possible to avoid trouble. It would not be an exaggeration to say that its very presence served as a good deterrent for the enemy. Evidence of this was the sharply reduced number of cases of firing at helicopters from the stern angles: making sure that when trying to fire the G-8 from behind you can run into the machine-gun queue, the dushman arrows showed comprehensible restraint (and the most incomprehensible paid for it with their head). Convincing evidence of this was the statistics on the reported cases of helicopter gunfire - in the Mi-8, the number of hits when approaching the target was three times higher than when leaving the attack, making 73 — 75% and 25 — 27%, respectively (in other words, in the “eight "The presence of fire protection of the rear hemisphere tripled its vulnerability). Confirmation was also the data on the susceptibility of the Mi-24 helicopters, which did not have such a rifle installation, where the distribution of hits at these stages was almost the same: using the opportunity, the enemy fired at the helicopter with equal intensity both during the helicopter’s approach and departure, both from front and fodder angles.
As a result, the G-8, which significantly changed after the upgrades of the power plant, control system and hydraulics, aimed at improving performance, survivability and reliability, has changed little in terms of weapons. Among the few innovations was the possibility of using the UPK-23-250 cannon containers with helicopters with 23-mm guns GSH-23L on helicopters. Modified Mi-8MT could carry two such containers, suspended on the outer holders. The guns turned out to be unexpectedly effective against thick-walled adobe duvalov, where both the "weave" fragmentation bombs and C-5 missiles, unable to penetrate the meter-thick obstacles, were of little effect. At the same time, with their high initial speed, the cannon shells had a good penetrating action, they pierced through and struck the enemy who had been seated there.
Mi-8MT enters the landing area at the mountain outpost near Kabul. MI-24 from a covering pair is circling nearby.
"Eight" coached for landing at the mountain post. All equipment of the landing site consists of a cone- "sorcerer", indicating the direction of the wind. A flight engineer nudges at a car door watching a decline and tells the commander maneuvers
In general, having passed the circle of changes, the Mi-8 weapon began to correspond to the principle of reasonable sufficiency. Its excessive gain interfered with the main purpose of the helicopter (the best confirmation of which was the purely transport Mi-6, the issue of “pre-arming” which was not raised at all). If necessary, the Mi-8 completely managed the external suspension of weapons, where in most cases a pair of NAR units was missing. At the same time, as inevitable exceptions, amateur refinements appeared, mostly as a realization of one’s own views on the capabilities of the helicopter. Thus, in the Ghazni Squadron of the 335 OBVP in 1986, several Mi-8 received large-caliber DShK mounted on a special swing frame in the door. There was also a factory revision kit for installation in the doors of the more modern large-caliber machine gun “Utes” (NSV-12,7), but it was also not popular for reasons similar to AGS.
It turned out to be a short career in Afghanistan and a special armed version of the Mi-8TV - a modification of an attack helicopter generously equipped with various weapons. The number of arms holders on it was increased to six against the usual four, and the bomb load was increased to 1500 kg, including 500-kg caliber bombs. The helicopter also carried a Phalanx guided weapons complex with four ATGMs of the 9М17М type on suspension farms. A set of weapons complemented the rifle installation with a large-caliber machine gun A-12,7 with 700 ammunition ammunition and a K-10T sight, manually operated, the same as on the first Mi-24. Due to the limited space in the pilot's cabin, the ammunition had to be placed in the cargo compartment, in the cartridge box on the front wall, from where the ribbon extended to the machine gun along the outer sleeve on board the fuselage. To control the ATGM, a rack was installed at the work station of the right pilot with the equipment of the Raduga-F complex with an optical guidance device - a sight, borrowed from the tank, rather cumbersome and interfering with the navigator in flight. In addition, the helicopter retained the ability to take on board a branch of paratroopers who could fire from personal weapons with the help of six pivot installations in the portholes, which was intended for onboard ammunition in 2500 cartridges.
Mi-8MT shoots heat traps from cassettes ASO-2В. 50 th OSAP, neighborhood of Kabul, 1988 g
Mi-8MT on the patch at the mountain observation post near Kabul. For flights to supply such points with complex approach schemes and difficult landing, the most experienced and flown crews were appointed.
In terms of equipment, the helicopter was not inferior or quantitatively inferior to the Mi-24, and in some ways even surpassed it, having a large number of suspension nodes and being able, in particular, to carry up to six UB-32А blocks and up to one and a half tons of bombs. The Mi-8TV, referred to as the “combat helicopter,” had solid armor: the cockpit was protected by armor plates made of KVK-2 sheet steel with a thickness of 5 — 8 mm and the total number of 19 pieces. Pilot seats were made of armor, including cups and armor spikes. Several plates of armor were fastened behind the bulkhead from the side of the cargo compartment, and part of the front glazing was replaced with flat bullet proof glasses 50 mm in thickness made up of several layers of silicate and organic glass. Eight-millimeter steel armor also protected the fuel pumps of the engines, the oil tank and the hydraulic units of the control system.
Since the machine turned out to be over-heavy and all the newly installed units were grouped in the bow, in order to maintain acceptable centering, the batteries had to be moved to the stern, where they were placed on the sash doors. According to the plan, the Mi-8TV was supposed to serve as a “flying infantry fighting vehicle”, suitable both for landing troops and destroying various targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles, and the name of the impressive-looking helicopter was also deciphered by many as “heavily armed”.
In the 40 Army Aviation, the heavily armed G8s were in the 280 AFP; they were also used by helicopter pilots of border troops working in the north of the country. The number of Mi-8TVs, however, was calculated by single machines (their production was limited, and such helicopters distributed literally several pieces to the helicopter shelves, in addition to the usual “eights”).
In the specific Afghan situation, features of the Mi-8TV of not the best character immediately appeared: the helicopter's armament and defense cost a considerable increase in weight, despite the fact that the power plant remained the same. Its capacity, rather weak even for the usual G8, was frankly not enough to work with such an overload. With the amount of weapons and armor that were on the Mi-8TV, the helicopter simply could not take off due to the weakened bearing properties in the hot air of the high mountains and the "drawdown" of power. Choosing "volatility", preserving the carrying and maneuverable qualities and controllability, we tried to remove everything unnecessary from helicopters, including part of the armor plates. ATGMs were never used, and the suspension was limited to a maximum of a couple of blocks, and still the heavy machine was inferior to the usual “eights” in the range and duration of the flight. Even with the revision of the “Afghan complex” (otherwise, “measures according to plan for the 40 Army Air Force”), all innovations for the Mi-8TV were limited to installing the ASO-2В system with cassettes under the tail boom, without using mandatory ones at other “eights” ejectors on the exhaust nozzles with their massive ducts, "stealing" and without enough power.
Nevertheless, the helicopters of this model had their supporters, in particular, thanks to a large-caliber machine gun, the fire from which was much more impressive than the usual PKT. So, did not miss the opportunity to fly (and shoot from a machine gun), General Tabunshchikov, deputy commander for army aviation of the Air Force of TurkVO, often looking for subordinates in helicopter units. Two Mi-8TVs from the 280 regiment participated in the well-known Operation South in April 1982 against the Bermuda Triangle, a Dushmana base in Rabati Jali on the Iranian border, when, due to errors in the organization, a 80 helicopter group cars was on the Iranian territory. Almost immediately after these events, the Mi-8TV Kandagar regiment completed their service in Afghanistan: during the planned replacement they were driven off to the Union, replacing them with the usual "eights".
The border guards Mi-8TV stayed a little longer. The link of such vehicles served, in particular, in the Dushanbe squadron of aviation of the border troops (from October 23 1983 deployed in the 23-th separate air regiment), they were also in the border squadron in Mary (later re-formed in the 17-th separate air regiment), where they were used very active. So, in December 1981, during a ten-day cleaning operation in the area of responsibility of the Pyanj border detachment in the area between Nanabad and Dashti-Kala, the number of used ammunition in one of the Mi-8TV reached the following figures: cartridges of 12,7 caliber mm - 1590 pieces, 7,62 caliber mm - 930 pieces, missiles C-5KPB - 270 pieces and bombs, including lighting at night strikes, - 30 pieces.
Half a year later, in the first half of May, 1982, in the area of the Koufab Gorge, a special operation was again carried out with extensive involvement of aviation. Since it was about restoring order in an extremely troubled area near the Soviet border, an impressive group of high command headed by General of the Army V.A. arrived at the command of the border troops of the KGB of the USSR. Matrosov, who had flown in specially from Moscow to the local Moscow frontier detachment (the frontier detachment was called at the place of deployment in the Tajik village of Moskovsky). Major-General N.A. Rokhlov, in the composition of the crews, took off for bombardment and attack. In one of these attacks, nine helicopters took part in the bombing of the village of Mushtiva, which attacked the enemy sequentially, in a column of links. The crew of one of the Mi-8TVs for the period of the operation that lasted 17 days spent 1845 ammunition for the A-12,7 machine gun, ammunition for PKT — 500 units, C-5KBB missiles - 646 units, 100 and XNXXXXX missiles. 250 units, and 42 man and 66 kg of cargo are parachuted. It is worth noting the well-founded preference for the use of a large-caliber machine gun, while the Kalashnikov onboard was assigned a supporting role and only one tape was shot from it.
In the course of this operation, on its very first day, 2, on May 1982, Mi-8TV of Senior Lieutenant I.A. Ephraim. The crew during a forced landing at Saidan was not injured, but the helicopter was not subject to recovery.
The frontier Mi-8ТV from time to time used an ATGM, although the effectiveness of the Phalang-M controlled complex left much to be desired. Being the firstborn among the domestic systems of this class, Phalanga-M had a number of drawbacks and demanded good training in use. The rocket was guided over the radio link in the manual mode - from “into” sight in sight to holding on the line of sight right up to the hit, with literally jewelery movements, because of which the constant maintenance of operator skills was paramount. However, even in field conditions and with well-trained pilots, the probability of hitting a tank-like target was, at best, a value on the order of 0,4 — 0,5, and the average results in combat units did not exceed 0,2.
One of the cases of using the ATGM from the G8 was described by Lieutenant-General I.P. Vertelko, who was aboard the helicopter together with the commander of the commander, Major F. Shagaleyev (the general explained his presence to the fact that “the matter was then unusual”):
“Dushmans constantly fired a section of the road along the Pyanj with one of the dominant heights. The firing point of the enemy was in a deep cave, almost invulnerable to our bullets and shells. To get there from our territory is impossible - solid rocks. Looking for a path from the Afghan side is a difficult and risky business. So there was an idea to cover them with an ATGM released from a helicopter. Shagaleev volunteered to do this. At the appointed hour we took to the air. A green caterpillar to a dangerous place was crawling up the column. That's "hornet's nest" will speak. For sure! On the gray background of the cliffs there were flashing flashes of shots.
- I see the goal! - Shagaleev reported. - grabbed.
The cunning projectile, which “sensed” the target, left, sent by Farid’s light hand. A few seconds later a powerful explosion thundered in the mountains. The goal was destroyed from the first launch ”(in the episode the statement of the general was saved, although an inaccuracy crept in - he launched a rocket, of course, not at all Komesk Shagaleev, but the helicopter navigator who worked with the sight and guidance equipment, the pilot in the crew did not have definition, since the entire Phalango control system was installed at the navigator’s workplace).
A pair of sanitary "eights" is going to pick up the wounded. In order to get to the high points of the mountain, helicopters were usually taken off the trusses of the helicopters, and even the shutter panels.
It should be noted that the aviation of the Border Troops was not part of the 40 Army's air force and acted independently. Even the acquisition of aviation units at the border guards was carried out according to their own states. So, all units had a mixed composition of different types of airplanes and helicopters, and in the flight they had three helicopters instead of four in the Air Force. At the same time, the pilots of the border guards were much higher than in the 40 Army Aviation, many of them had a thousand sorties and more (there were such people for 50), and the Hero of the Soviet Union V. Popkov had more than 2500 ! The reason for such achievements was that the crews of the army, front-line and transport aircraft belonging to the Air Force were seconded from their units to work in Afghanistan for a year, after which they returned home (a longer period of time in a combat situation was rightfully considered to be detrimental to the health of the personal composition due to moral and physical deterioration of the body).
To counterbalance them, the border aviation pilots constantly served on the spot, continuing to fly "to war" from year to year. It was believed that the basing of border aviation on its territory with periodic departures "for war" was less stressful than the permanent presence "behind the ribbon" of the 40 Army's air force. So, Farit Shagaleev made the first flight to Afghanistan on 1980 in January and, being already the Hero of the Soviet Union as commander of the 23-th PDA, did not stop flying “to the fighting” until the very last days of the war. Valery Popkov, starting combat work as a young lieutenant immediately after graduating from school and coming to border aviation in the fall of 1982, continued to carry out combat missions until the withdrawal of troops in February of 1989.
The intensity of ammunition consumption reported in the reporting of the army aviation headquarters can be judged by the intensity of use of the Mi-8TV in the 40 Army Air Force: for example, out of the total 1310 thousand ammunition for aviation weapons prepared for 1980, 309190 ammunition was intended for machine guns A -12,7 and 674210 pieces - for machine guns YakB-12,7. If the latter were used only on the Mi-24, then the ammunition for the A-12,7 went not only on the Mi-8TV, but also on the Mi-6 (however, on heavy transport "sheds" the machine gun was used, if necessary to clarify the wind when landing, giving a turn and focusing on the raised dust fountains of dust). The aforementioned ammunition consumption, given the smallness of the Mi-8TV, looks decently overestimated (especially despite the fact that the use of ammunition by frontier aviation and their Mi-8TV, listed by another agency, was not taken into account here: the means of destruction that went for them were delivered to the airfields in the Soviet Union by their own applications, through the aviation of the KGB of the USSR). In order to consume such a quantity of ammunition, the crews of the Mi-8TV had to shoot almost a thousand rounds of ammunition every day, whereas in the above cases of real combat use, the consumption of large-caliber machine-gun cartridges at the eights was on average about a hundred pieces a day.
The most likely reason for this discrepancy and the overestimation of the total figures seems to be inaccuracy in accounting: the listed ammunition could not be shot “for its intended purpose”, but written off due to loss. Of course, it was not about “shrinking and utruska” - indispensable attributes of quartermaster fishing, in a combat situation there could be a decline for the most force majeure reasons. For example, the 40 Army’s very significant aviation stocks lost ammunition depots at Kandahar 23 September 1980 in a fire. From a random tracer bullet of a sentry soldier, the boxes caught fire, the smoldering pile caught up in the entire warehouse. It was impossible to extinguish it because of the rupture of bombs, which were shattered around the entire aerodrome of splinters and rockets. The nearby link of the MiG-21 fighters and the Mi-6 helicopter burned down, and the missiles and cartridges rushing in the fire were counted in many thousands. This case in the list of losses was not the only one.
Such a decrease, which can hardly be attributed to the intended purpose, was written off in the usual way as “spent during combat operations”, which suited everyone (just as the loss of aircraft was listed almost everywhere as “combat”, even if it was a question of machines broken the fault of the pilots or other reasons, which accounted for half). An example of how a part of the ammunition that was consumed did not go into the business at all is a dozen or so aviation missiles R-3Р present in the same reporting on the use of weapons of destruction for 1980. Obviously, air-to-air missiles to MiG fighters -21 was not used in any air battles after being lost in the same fire and explosion of warehouses.
Assault strikes and raids supplemented preventive measures — mining the environs of hostile villages, approaches to opposition camps, and the destruction of mountain trails along which enemy units could move and caravans with weapons. Among other things, the mined allowed to “immobilize” the enemy, blocking his movement and depriving one of the main trump cards of mobility and elusiveness. One should take into account such a specific feature of the psychological type of the adversary as fatalism characteristic of the eastern character: the hidden invisible death confused those much more than a clash with the enemy in open battle and mines served as a reliable "stopping means".
The heavily armed Mi-8TV with a large-caliber machine gun and six blocks of UB-32A on the suspension (the car does not belong to the 40 Army's air force, the picture was taken at home in the Union)
For mining, they often used ordinary bombs, setting fuses to a great slowdown so that heating blasts made the area impassable from time to time, blocking a pass or a trail for several days. The impact at the same time was not so much targeted, as preventive, eliminating any adversary's desire to go to mined places. In the spring of 1980, for the mine blockade, the containers of the VSM-1 mining helicopter system went into action. The Mi-8 could carry four containers, each of which was loaded with 29 XS-1 cassettes, and their pipes could hold anti-personnel mines on 72.
Fragment POM-1 in the mountains were used a little, the rocky soil did not allow them to deepen when falling, and the steel balls on the surface were too noticeable. High-explosive PFM-1 weighing just 80 g was widely used, however, the liquid explosive BC-6 contained in them was enough to tear off the fingers or crush the foot, immobilizing the enemy. Mina- “butterfly” in a plastic case with a stabilizer wing, barely containing metal, remained undetectable by mine detectors; A tiny petal was difficult to see under your feet, even on level ground.
At first, PFM-1 was green, then they were replaced by mines of “sandy” yellow-brown hue. It was necessary to step on a soft plastic case so that a hydrostatic fuse would work from pressure. The weakness of the killer action of the butterfly was in fact calculated and insidious: the victim survived and received only wounds to the extremities, losing his fingers or crushing the foot, but lost the ability to move independently, and caused the partners more trouble than in the case of death — they should there were at least two people, thereby also losing their combat capability.
"Trophy" shot downed Mi-8МТ with suspension containers VSM-1. A western journalist who illegally made his way to Afghanistan photographed a broken car in Panjshir.
Together with them, the PFM-1С with the self-liquidator fell apart, the claps of which, sounding on the trails and in the rubble for several days, finally discouraged their way to meet the lurking death. At the same time, the self-destruction of the minefield made it possible to limit the blocking timeframe, after a certain period, opening the way for his troops from the direction that the enemy himself, remaining in ignorance, continued to consider impassable. Intervals and discharge series were set by remote control in the cargo compartment. In one minute, Mi-8 could pour 8352 mines, “sowing” a strip up to two kilometers long with a width of 15 — 25 m. The density of such a minefield (depending on the height and speed of discharge) ranged from one mine on 5 — b square meters several "petals" per meter.
Mine settings are usually combined with bombing strikes, making the canyons completely impassable with stone falls, preventing the enemy from getting out of the debris and cutting off detours. Early in the morning of 24 on June 1981, in response to dushman's attacks in the Gulkhana region, the six Mi-8 from the 181 of the AFP bombed eight FAB-500М62 passes on the tracks to the camps in Pakistan, tearing off the rocky ledges and summoned about the volcanic eaves and invoking volunteers to invade Pakistan camps in Pakistan. The surviving trails overwhelmed with mines, leaving 8352 anti-personnel “butterflies” in five rounds. The total number of mines spent in Afghanistan in the first year of the war alone exceeded half a million.
In December, 1981 from Jalalabad on a mine setting had scandalous consequences. It was necessary to block mines from the paths and passes on the caravan routes in the strip near the Pakistan border. The task was entrusted to the crews of a pair of “eights” of Babinsky and Martynkin from the 335 OBVP, the cover was provided by two Mi-24. The case, in general, was familiar and looked ordinary, but the senior air navigation navigator of the 40 Army, who had arrived from Kabul, wished to take part in the departure. The presence on board the leadership in itself was not a good omen, and then the chief immediately undertook to "steer", indicating the route and his direction of entering the desired square. The pilots said: “He didn’t know the local places, figured out something on the map and drove us, dangling between the mountains, right behind the ribbon. They tried to stop it - they say that Pakistan is already there, but the boss knew better and ruled with a firm hand. Finding a similar place on the map, he gave the command to pour mines. Walking along the gorge, they emerged from behind the slope and suddenly there was a railway station in front of us, people with nodes near carriages and all that. We arrived ... There are no railways in Afghanistan, of course - the Pakistani side. And the mines continued to fall, so slightly we spoiled their lives ”.
Mining missions were far from safe. This occupation, at first glance, is not very difficult and even routine (“still not to go for machine guns”), turned out to be very risky. In terms of the number of combat damage and losses, mining missions were inferior only to landing, which was perceived by management with some surprise. When landing on the territory occupied by the enemy, the reasons were clear: on the landing sites, helicopters often came under fire, but the losses during mining missions looked less explicable (the phrase “incomplete correlation of the nature of the loss with actual data” sounded on this score). Meanwhile, without a clear understanding of the reasons for the increased vulnerability, it was possible to speak about measures to avoid them only in the most general phrases.
Mining was almost always required to be done in the most dushman areas where one should not follow in good faith, in the unsafe proximity of dushman bases and villages, on caravan trails chosen and viewed by the enemy, often in mountain gorge and ravines, where the enemy had good capabilities for anti-aircraft defense, and the pilots, on the contrary, it was difficult to evade fire. The riskiness of such missions looks quite convincing if we add to this quite tough restrictions on the conditions of minefields, requiring compliance with the flight mode with a small height, keeping the course and the absence of any maneuvers, when the helicopter for accurate minefield setting was to be lines of the combat path for a long time.
16 May 1983. The mines during the dumping began to tear directly under the Mi-8. The helicopter received multiple fragmental damage to the fuselage, main rotor blades, equipment and fuel tanks were damaged, forcing him to land on the forced in the mountains and wait for help. A group of repairmen arrived with the car almost all day, patching holes, eliminating leaks in tanks and changing broken pipelines so that the helicopter could take off and fly to the base.
A few months later, on September 9 of 1983, while mining the area south of Faizabad, two Mi-8s from the 181 ORP were lost at once. The mine setting had to be performed in the gorge at an altitude of 3800 m, where the helicopters entered the mountain narrowness and were ambushed. The helicopters shot from the SADC fell right there. One of them was broken during a hard landing and burned down, the other managed to unscrew with damage, sat down on the forced one, and collapsed. The navigator of one of the crews - senior lieutenant V.V. Burago, the commander died from severe wounds - the commander major VN Balobanov, the rest of the pilots were injured and were picked up by a driven pair.
Mi-8MT Special Forces 205-th OVE is viewing the caravan trails near Kandahar. Rear porthole open for immediate opening fire when meeting with the enemy