In connection with the increase in the scale of actions of the Islamic State (IG) terrorist group banned in Russia and the response of the states that advocate its destruction, helicopter technology takes on a special role. Some countries of the Persian Gulf regions, the Middle East and Central Asia are paying great attention to this aspect and are purchasing the latest Russian, American and European helicopters for fire support of troops and destruction of IG facilities. At the same time, some of the countries fighting against the IS and other Islamist groups continue to rely on the aging platforms, which are being constructed during the Cold War. One of these countries is Pakistan, which is among the promising buyers of Russian helicopter technology.
Currently, the following countries of the Middle East and Asia region are actively opposing various Islamic terrorist groups (including ISIS): Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan. In the course of these military operations, a helicopter is very important aviation. An example of this is the operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in Syria, during which the Mi-24P combat helicopters are effectively used.
Of the countries in the region, Saudi Arabia has the most powerful helicopter fleet. It consists of 15 combat helicopters: the 12 AH-64D Apache Longbow (Apache Longbow) and the three newest AH-64E Apache Guardians (Apache Guardian), which recently began to enter the US Army Aviation Corps.
UAEs have XHUMX AH-30D combat helicopters.
The Syrian army is armed with the 24 helicopter Mi-25 (export version Mi-24В).
Over the past few years, its helicopter fleet has significantly strengthened Iraq: for the time being, this country has received 16 Mi-35М and 11 Mi-28НЭ from Russia. In total, taking into account the previously delivered Iraq, by the middle of 2016, the 24 Mi-35М and 19 Mi-28НЭ should receive.
Turkey has a large fleet of helicopters. The military aviation of this country is armed with 18 AH-1P Cobra units, 12 AH-1S Cobra units, 6 AH-1W Cobra units, 4 TAH-1P Cobra units. Deliveries of the newest T-129 Attack helicopters Ataq (ATAK) developed by the Turkish company Terkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to the armed forces began. As of August 2015, nine such helicopters had been handed over to the national armed forces, and deliveries were continuing. In total, Turkey intends to get 59 units T129 "Atack", which will fully meet the needs of the country in modern combat helicopters.
Pakistan has an AH-38 Cobra combat helicopter F and S with 1, as well as one stored Mi-24 helicopter.
Jordan has an AH-25F Cobra 1 combat helicopter.
The armed forces of Bahrain consist of 34 combat helicopters: 16 AH-1E Cobra, 12 AH-1F Cobra, 6 TAH-1P Cobra.
At the moment, in the fight against the Islamists, two countries rely most of all on helicopter aviation - Iraq and Pakistan. Baghdad made a decision on the procurement of modern helicopter technology and has already begun to receive it, including the Russian Night Hunters possessing an increased level of protection. At the same time, the state of Pakistan’s helicopter fleet is rather deplorable. Outdated "Cobras" simply can not withstand the load experienced during active sorties against the Islamists. In terms of security, the AH-1F / S, delivered to Pakistan in 1984 – 1986, is significantly inferior to modern combat helicopters. The maximum payload "Cobra" is 1500 kilograms. At the same time, only four to eight Hellfire guided missiles (SD) can be installed on board simultaneously. Pakistan also continues to experience problems with the supply of spare parts for Cobras, which further reduces the efficiency of these helicopters. Due to the obsolescence of the AH-1F / S design, its modernization is impractical. Therefore, the issue of the acquisition of new helicopters of army aviation for Pakistan is highly relevant.
At the moment, Pakistan is actively seeking ways to replenish and modernize the entire helicopter fleet of the national armed forces. In April, the 2015 of the year after a long period of failure, the US State Department approved the probable supply of 15 AH-1Z Viper helicopters to Pakistan. The payload of this vehicle is slightly higher than the level of the Mi-35М and Mi-28НЭ (2620 kg), however, its reservation and security from damage of the SAM MANPADS is inferior to the Mi-28НЭ indicators. It is important that the cost of AH-1Z significantly exceeds the cost of the "Night Hunter". Pakistan is engaged in military-technical cooperation on helicopter-related issues with China. In particular, in April 2015 of the year three Z-10 combat helicopters were delivered. However, the combat effectiveness of these helicopters is doubtful experts. Previously, these helicopters were not used in any conflict. The payload indicator (of the order of 1500 kg) is significantly inferior to both the Mi-35М and Mi-28НЭ, and AH-1Z. The Chinese combat helicopter is equipped with two WZ-9 engines, the power of which is also inferior to the Russian and American power plants. Western experts point out that due to the insufficient power of the Z-10 engines, they cannot perform combat missions at full load. Negotiations are under way with Russia. In the summer of 2015, it became aware of the conclusion of a contract with Pakistan for the supply of four Mi-35M combat helicopters.
How helicopters die
Today, modern and well-defended helicopter gunships are in demand on the battlefield. According to a study conducted by the Joint Department for Survival of Aviation Equipment of the US Navy and the Institute for the Analysis of Military Problems, currently, the main threat to helicopters on a modern battlefield is portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades fired from hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers. After studying the losses suffered by the US armed forces during the armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (from October 2001 to September 2009), it was found that in total losses the share of helicopters shot down by enemy fire was 19 percent, and 81 the percentage is accounted for by various accidents. In total, 496 incidents and disasters occurred during this period, during which 375 rotary-wing machines were lost.
Compared with the Vietnamese war, the ratio of losses and flight time has decreased significantly (seven times) and amounted to 2,71 irretrievably lost helicopter on 100 thousands of flight hours. However, this figure is significantly higher than the goal, which was set by Congress and the US Department of Defense (0,5 irretrievably lost helicopters for 100 thousands of hours).
In total, 70 helicopters were lost during the fighting. The ratio of flight accidents and flight time was 2,31 units per 100 thousand flight hours, which is almost 4,5 times the standard set by the leadership of the armed forces. The ratio of flight incidents and flight time was 4,79 units per 100 thousand flight hours (exceeding the standard by almost 10 times). During the fighting for reasons not related to enemy fire, 157 helicopters were lost. Another 148 rotary-wing machines are non-combat irretrievable losses.
In the context of this study, the loss of AH-64 Apache helicopters (Apache) is of particular interest. In the course of the fighting in 2001 – 2009, Apaches of modifications A and D (Apache Longbow) took part. In the period from September 2001 to October 2009, the US armed forces lost 11 AH-64 Apache helicopters from enemy fire during the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003, 2 of the helicopter was lost, in 2004-m - 2, in 2005-m - 1, in 2006-m - 3, in 2007-m - 3. A much larger number of Apaches were lost during various flight incidents unrelated to the actions of the enemy — the 31 machine. For this group of reasons, 2002 helicopters were lost in 2, 2003 in 6, 2004 in 5, 2005 in 7, 2006 in 4, m - 2007. Outside the battlefield, for various reasons, the US military lost 6 helicopters. 2009 lost 1 helicopters in 26, 2002 in 7, 2003 in 3, 2004 in 3, 2005 in 7, and 2006 in 2. In total, the United States lost 2007 AH-3 of all modifications between September 2009 and October 1, of which only 2001 machines (2009%) were lost in battle.
Researchers have noted a significant reduction in the loss of helicopters of all types in the course of the hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan compared to the figures for the Vietnam War. This was largely achieved by increasing the number of different necessary equipment (including hydraulic), additional booking of the cockpit, installing more protected from impact and fire fuel systems. In particular, the UH-60 military transport helicopter can stay in the air for at least 30 minutes after a single hit of an 7,62 caliber bullet armor-piercing bullet at any place of the helicopter.
Both in Vietnam and in Iraq and Afghanistan, the main threat to helicopters of all types was light weapon (LSO). In Vietnam, fire from SALW caused 94 percent of combat losses, while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan - 31 percent. It is assumed that in the near future SALW will continue to be one of the main threats. At the same time, the threat of destruction of MANPADS and RPG grenades has significantly increased.
During the indicated period, the use by the rebels of rocket or cannon armaments with radar targeting was not recorded. MANPADS have become the most powerful means of air defense. At the same time, as American experts believe, this threat should not be left without proper attention, as its role may increase in the future. Moreover, videotapes made by representatives of the Islamic State group suggest that the terrorists have various weapons that previously belonged to government forces, in particular Iraq. It is possible that anti-aircraft missile systems will fall into their hands. In this case, previous-generation helicopters (including the Mi-35М) are becoming more vulnerable than modern combat helicopters Mi-28НЭ.
Struggle for vitality
American experts recommend equipping helicopters with systems of opto- and electronic countermeasures / jamming, increasing the fire resistance and ballistic protection of rotary-wing machines, significantly enhancing the emergency resistance criteria of aircraft, and equipping the crew and landing forces (in the case of military transport helicopters) with improved ballistic protection, install systems for detecting various threats (including missile threats), automatic detection of enemy fire and electrical systems Control emy (FBWCS). In other words, in the fight against IS in the Middle East and Central Asia, the Mi-28HE will be more effective, rather than the Mi-35М.
Speaking of these Russian helicopters, it should be noted that the Mi-35M is the most complete modernization of the helicopter Mi-24 family, while the Mi-28HE is a combat helicopter designed from scratch, which was widely used in the development of operating and combat use of the helicopter technology in Afghanistan. The conditions of this conflict are in many ways similar to the theater of operations against the IG group.
An important advantage of the Mi-28HE compared to the Mi-35M is the increased power of the cannon armament. The “Night Hunter” is equipped with a non-removable mobile gun unit NSPU-28 with an 30-mm automatic gun 2А42 (this gun is also equipped with an infantry fighting vehicle BMP-2). Her regular ammunition is 300 cartridges. In the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, four samples of projectiles are applied to this gun: armor-piercing 3UBR6 and 3UBR8, incendiary high-explosive fragmentation 3UOX8, fragmentation-tracer 3UOR6. 3UBR6 and 3UBR8 allow you to effectively hit enemy armored vehicles at a distance of 1000 and 1500 meters, respectively. A foreign customer can also use armor-piercing shells with a feathered core and a detachable pallet of Swiss, Belgian, Bulgarian, Czech and Slovak production. 2А42 high-explosive and fragmentation-tracer shells of foreign origin are allowed. The effective range of enemy enemy personnel is 2000 – 4000 meters, depending on the type of projectile.
Compared to the Mi-28HE, the Mi-35M is equipped with less powerful cannon armament. The helicopter is equipped with a GSPU-23 with an 23-mm gun GSH-23L, the ammunition load of which is 450 cartridges. High-explosive incendiary (OFZ-23-AM-GSH), high-explosive incendiary tracer (OFZT-23-AM-GSH), armor-piercing-explosive (BR-23-AM-GSH), armor-piercing-incendiary tracer are used for this gun. (BZT-23-AM-GSH and BZT-23-GSH), high explosive incendiary (FZ-23-GSH and FZ-23-GSH-N), multi-element (ME-23-GSH). In terms of armor penetration and armored action (23х115 mm), the GSH-23L gun cartridges are significantly inferior to the cartridges (30х165 mm) of the 2А42 gun. In particular, the effective range of destruction of the enemy’s light armored / unarmored equipment ranges from 1000 to 1500 meters, and manpower to 2000 meters. Due to the fact that the GS-23 / GS-23L aviation gun is in large quantities only in service with Russian and Chinese aviation equipment, the range of available foreign ammunition is significantly limited and the above-mentioned Russian ammunition is most often exported. The only advantage of the GSH-23L is the possibility of using the multi-element projectile ME-23-GSH, the warhead of which includes 24 striking elements capable of causing serious damage to the unprotected manpower of the enemy. In other words, the cannon armament of the Mi-28HE in the fight against terrorist groups is more effective than the Mi-35М.
The indicator of the maximum payload of the Mi-35M helicopter slightly exceeds the corresponding indicator of the Mi-28HE and is 2400 and 2100 kilograms, respectively. At the same time, the regular nomenclature of the Mi-35М armaments is smaller compared to the Night Hunter. The Mi-35M can be equipped with the following outboard armament: two UPK-23 universal cannon containers with a-XG-23L cannons (250 ammunition for a cannon per container) or four B8B20-A cannons with unguided air missiles (NAR) of the X-11X-17-X-family of X-elements of the X-NUMX-A-series. 8 NAR per unit), two B80L20 units with a NAR caliber 13 of millimeter C-1 (122 NAR per unit), anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) from the 13М5 “Sturm-V” family (standard version) or 9MMXM 114 ATGM for launcher). Mi-9HE can also use this range of weapons, while the standard is considered to be the 120М8 ATGM. On the "Night Hunter" is allowed to install air-to-air missiles "Igla-S" as part of the Strelets guided missile complex.
A significant advantage of the Mi-28HE is an increased level of security compared to the Mi-35М. MI-35M armor protection compared to the MI-24В grew slightly. For the Mi-35M, the main weapons used against the Mi-24 during the war in Afghanistan (1979 – 1989), in particular the DShK machine gun (cartridge 12,7х108 mm), anti-aircraft mountain installations ZGU-1 and anti-aircraft machine guns are still a big threat. ZPU-1 / ZPU-2 / ZPU-4, anti-aircraft installations ZU-23-2. The Islamic State also captured a significant number of heavy machine guns M2HB (cartridge 12,7х99 mm). All this weapons can effectively shoot down Mi-24 and Mi-35М.
Almost armor of god
When developing the Mi-28HE, a number of measures were taken to protect the helicopter from the cannon and machine gun weapons. Two VK-2500 engines are separated and shielded by the airframe design elements. The blades of the main and tail rotors are made of composite materials with increased strength. Fuel, hydraulic and pneumatic lines are duplicated. The helicopter is arranged in such a way that less important elements cover up more important. Void machine designs are filled with porous materials. The crew received an armored cabin and energy absorbing seats with parachute rescue system. On the helicopter, inflatable ballons are installed to prevent the crew from colliding with the landing gear during an emergency escape of the helicopter. Special attention is paid to the fire protection of the helicopter, in particular the fuel tanks and fire-hazardous compartments. Mi-28HE also received an energy absorbing chassis. As a result of the measures taken, the armored cab and the helicopter glass of the helicopter withstand the hit of the armor-piercing bullets of 12,7x99 and 12,7x108 cartridges of millimeters, high-explosive fragmentation projectiles of the millimeter 20 caliber. Blades of screws continue to work after several hits of shells of 23 caliber of millimeters. As a result, the probability of defeat from cannon-machine-gun armament is markedly reduced. When firing from the ZU-30-23 (it is assumed that this particular anti-aircraft gun is the most powerful and most widely used in the IG), it takes much more ammunition and time to effectively defeat the Mi-2HE than the Mi-28. And there will simply be no extra minutes or even seconds in modern combat.
The Mi-28HE is equipped with a modern airborne defense complex (BSO), which consists of warning systems for laser and radar exposure (it is possible to install a warning system for a rocket attack). Installation of the “President-S” radio-electronic jamming station is allowed, which significantly increases the helicopter's protection against anti-aircraft missiles of MANPADS.
Compared to the Mi-35M, the Night Hunter’s resistance to MANPADS anti-aircraft missiles has also increased. In contrast to the local conflicts of the end of 80 - the beginning of 90 - s (including the war in Afghanistan), the number of MANPADS in the ranks of illegal armed groups has increased significantly. Previously, the rebels had, as a rule, unlicensed copies of the Soviet "Strel" and "Eagle" and in smaller quantities - the American FIM-92 "Stinger" (Stinger) of early modifications (FIM-92A). At present, according to Western experts, the IG has 250 – 400 units of MANPADS, a large number of Soviet, Polish and Bulgarian ZU-23-2 units, as well as DShK and M2HB machine guns. At the moment, the presence of FIM-92, FN-6 (PRC), Igla-1, Strela-2, Igla-S MANPADS terrorists has been recorded. The greatest threat is precisely Igla-S, the samples of which are probably captured by IS militants in Syria. FN-6, which is supposed to have been purchased by Qatar for the Syrian opposition and subsequently went to the IS, should not be underestimated. At least one Russian-made Mi-35M shipped for the Iraqi armed forces was shot down from FN-6 in October 2014. According to Western data, the Iraqi Mi-35М are equipped with radio electronic counter stations KT-01-AVE "Adros" of Ukrainian production. Probably, problems in the work of this system and led to the defeat of the helicopter. IG has a small number of self-propelled anti-aircraft installations ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" and 57-mm anti-aircraft guns C-60.
Choice for Pakistan
Thus, in the IS countermeasure zone, including in Afghanistan, the saturation of the battlefield with anti-aircraft means is growing and will continue to grow in the near future. This in turn means that government troops will need helicopters with a higher survivability margin compared to the Mi-35M.
Pakistan is already taking steps to get Russian helicopters. During the Dubai Airshow 2015 International Air Show (Dubai Airshow 2015), head of the Rostec state corporation, Sergey Chemezov, announced that deliveries to Pakistan of Mi-35 will begin in 2016. Pakistan itself highly appreciates the quality of Russian defense products. Such an opinion during the Dubai Airshow-2015 was expressed by Marshal of Aviation, head of Pakistan's largest manufacturer of aviation equipment of the company PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) Jawaid Ahmed. “The quality of Russian defense products is very high,” Ahmed told Military Technical Cooperation magazine. He noted that Pakistan is working with various Russian companies in a number of areas: “I hope that in the coming months there will be a breakthrough in many areas. Pakistan recently acquired Russian Mi-35M helicopters. I believe that this is a definite progress. "
The representative of Pakistan gave a high assessment to the Russian helicopter technology: “Earlier, Mi-171 transport helicopters were acquired from Russia. We found that they function well under our conditions. We consider the possibilities of further work with Russian companies. ” He added that the Pakistani armed forces require a large number of helicopters. “Our helicopters are flying very actively in operations against terrorists. In this regard, we need any Russian defense products, ”summed up the head of the PAC.
Pakistan is ready for military-technical cooperation with Russia, including in the field of aviation technology, said Chief Air Force Marshal Sohail Aman during the Dubai Airshow-2015, Pakistan Air Force Chief of Staff. “The Pakistan Air Force is open for cooperation, we are striving to establish good relations with many countries,” said Aman. “We evaluate the possibility of implementing various projects, including with Russia.”
"Why not? We need to develop relations with many countries; we must extend a helping hand to each other and complement opportunities. Engines - only one small aspect (defense production). It is necessary to develop cooperation, ”the commander-in-chief noted. Thus, the Pakistani military demonstrate their readiness to acquire and operate Russian helicopter technology.
Based on the above data, a number of conclusions can be drawn. On a modern battlefield, helicopters with integrated EW and EW equipment that are well protected from small arms are in demand. In order to effectively perform a combat mission, the rotary-wing machine must have cannon armament, the ability to use both anti-tank / anti-missile and anti-aircraft missiles, to allow the installation of suspended containers with gun / machine gun / automatic grenade launchers. It is assumed that the payload indicator will be at least 2000 – 2300 kilograms. The helicopter must be equipped with two power plants with a capacity of at least 2000 horsepower each, and it is desirable that they be separated to increase the survivability of the rotary-wing machine. In this case, the best choice for Pakistan will be the purchase of Mi-28HE or AH-1Z helicopters. However, the Russian machine with comparable or superior combat characteristics has three important advantages - increased reliability in desert-mountainous terrain, lower repair and maintenance costs, simpler requirements for crew training. And the cost is crucial: as shown by the use of American military helicopters in recent conflicts, most of the losses are attributed to various disasters that are not related to the actions of the enemy. Also, the operation of the AH-1Z during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has demonstrated that this machine is extremely sensitive to sand and dust pollution and to a hot climate. This imposes certain restrictions on its use. At the same time, Russian helicopters have proved extremely successful in operation in the countries of the Middle East and Central Asia. Based on this, modern Russian helicopters, in particular the Mi-28НЭ, are the best choice for the armed forces of Pakistan in the fight against various Islamist terrorist groups.