Uganda Chopper Crash: Was common sense in short supply?
Last updated on 15 Aug 2012 17:00
By Peter Nguli
First and foremost, our condolences to our Ugandan brothers and sisters for the diffucult week of pain after the chopper crash in Mt. Kenya area in which two of their colleagues died.
There is no doubt they died in their call of duty to protect their country, our country, Africa and the world in general by targetting Al Shabaab millitants in Somalia and eliminating the threat of global terrorism. Our hearts are with them in these days of mourning.
However, I beg to raise some logical questions regarding basic items which I thought are universal to everyone's thinking. Was common sense in short supply?
Lets first look at this Mi-24 chopper also called Hind see its advantages. According to Wikia website, the Mi-24 Hind is a multirole attack helicopter manufactured by the Soviet Mil bureau, a Moscow Helicopter Plant, based in Moscow, Russia.
The first helicopter to enter service with the Soviet Air Force as a dedicated gunship and small scale troop transport, it was developed with the Mi-8 'Hip' transport helicopter's propulsion system, entering Soviet service in 1972. The NATO name "Hind" comes from the helicopter's distinctive nose area, which resembles that of a female deer, also called a hind. Also the mainstay of the Russian Army, it is highly durable because of its heavy armour, it is also appealing because of the abundance of weaponry loaded on board.
According to Global Security Organisation, it was the most widely used element of Soviet air power in the Afghan war. It was also used in Chechnya. The Hind was an extremely lethal weapon, with machine guns or cannon in the nose turret and up to 192 unguided missiles under its stub wings.
It was widely used by the Soviets for punitive and search-and-destroy missions. The Hind was also used to provide close air support for ground troops, to strike Afghan villages and to conduct armed-reconnaissance missions to detect and attack guerrilla groups. In addition, Total Air Dominance lists the Mil Mi-24 "Hind" is a formidable tank killing helicopter with mean looking design and awesome fire capabilities and in addition, its the backbone of the helicopter fleets of around 19 nations.
The Mi-24 is not only an attack helicopter but also a troop carrier. This machine can provide adequate firepower to while being dropped at their designated landing sites. The helicopter crews in the west work in co-ordination with each other. In the U.S army for example the AH-64 Apaches gives covering fire while the UH-60 Black Hawks deploy troops, but in the case of the Mi-24 both the tasks can be done by the same helicopter.
The concept of the Mi-24 is thus much different from western philosophies. There were many modifications done to the Mi-24 during the early days of the programme. The Mi-24 also played a significant role in the gulf war but did not fair too well in the hands of inexperienced Iraqi pilots and due to the presence of the Apache with its hi-tech weapons and technology.
However, Russian Army Mi-24s are being upgraded with new avionics including thermal imagers. All Mi-24 helicopters can also be armed with rockets and grenade launchers. The helicopter is powered by two Isotov TV3-117VMA turboshaft engines and can travel at a speed of 335 MPH.
Difficult to fly