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Армійська авіація (AA)

UkrAA 18We visited one of the Ukraine Army Avaition bases a couple of years ago, amidst the turmoil that was going on in the Eastern part of the country.

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UkrAA 02This Mi-24P with a rare badge of the 1st helicopter squadron (1-а вертолітна ескадрилья) starts our overview.

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UkrAA 20UkrAA 01During a base exercise, some different Ukrainian army units were present at Kherson and performed combined operations. The mainstay of the shock army being the Mi-24P many of which received local upgrades. At the time of the visit, this one is believed to still belong to the 7th Separate Army Aviation Regiment - 7 OPAA (7-й окремий полк армійської авіації - 7 ОПАА) based at Novyi Kalyniv. In 2016, this unit was rebranded 12th Separate Army Aviation Brigade - 12 OBrAA (12-та окрема бригада армійської авіації - 12 ОБрАА). The unit should still have some Mi-26T too.

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UkrAA 05Fresh from its upgrade at Motor Sich, Zaporizhzhia, is this Mi-8MSB-V. This upgrade provides it with more powerful engines and new avionics and defence systems, greatly enhancing its performance. It used to be a legacy Mi-8T. By 2016,  Poltava air base was reinstated as operational base, and 18 Separate Army Aviation Brigade - 18 OBrAA (18-та окрема бригада армійської авіації - 18 ОБрАА), received the first three of these. It is also the only unit to operate some Mi-2s.

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Most numerous though, is the Mi-8MT and its variants, to most of the readers known with its export name 'Mi-17'. These are operated alongside the Mi-24s and are used for a variety of roles. This one has two pods with a single 4-barelled rotary Yakushev-Borzov YakB-12.7mm gatling gun, flanked by two Glagolev–Shipunov–Gryazev GShG-7.62mm four-barelled machine guns on its outer pylons.

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That pod is seen here in more detail. Along with the indigenous chaff/flare dispenser and lastly, the acronym ПТН ПНХ (PTN PNH) telling Putin to put something somewhere...

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 Even more Mi-8MT/MTVs took of while we were there, practising an assault together with the Mi-24s from various units present.

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UkrAA 21Two Mi-24P from the local unit at Kherson, 11th Separate Army Aviation Brigade - 11 OBrAA (11-та окрема бригада армійської авіації - 11 ОБрАА), with red codes. Like most helicopters present, these Mi-24s are marked with 'invasion stripes' because of their battle use.

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More peaceful is the evacuation of casualties, to that end, big red crosses are applied in case some victims need to be repatriated from the conflict area. This Mi-8MSB-V shows off that configuration.

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The base also had various airframes, Mi-24P and Mi-8MT, in white colour scheme as Ukraine participated in a number of UN missions in Africa. This particular one was just back from UNMIL (United Nations Mission in Liberia), but Ukraine also supports MONUSCO (UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and UNMISS (UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan).

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Here a Mi-8MT of 11 OBrAA taxies in after another sortie. Clearly visible beneath the tailboom is the locally developed chaff/flare dispenser. It is also equipped with armour plating, weather radar and a hoist.

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The profile of the Mi-8MTV is of course very recognisable. The turrent in the nose houses a 7.62 machine gun and the two B8W20 rocket pods sure give you the signal to not mess with these guys...

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Preparing for the mass launch that day is one of a dozen or so Mi-24Ps, against a typical backdrop often found at army air bases in the east.

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Well covered up, but unmistakably a Mi-9 flying command post. One of the rarer gems present.

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UkrAA 19UkrAA 04We nearly forgot the last of the four units, 16th Separate Army Aviation Brigade - 16 OBrAA (16-та окрема бригада армійської авіації - 16 ОБрАА) which is at Brody. Also with yellow codes and one of them showed off its non-standard unofficial brigade badge. Next to it, is the 'official' badge.