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Flightline Friday: America’s “Hind” December 1, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Flightline Friday.

Real short post- the Soviet/Russian Mil-24 “Hind” has been an effective close air support helicopter for the Russians for years.  Different from the American approach with the AH-1 Cobra, failed AH-56 Cheyenne, and AH-64 Apache, which are all two seat helicopters that tried to minimize frontal aspect to improve speed and present less of a target, the Mil-24 is a huge beast that is not only an attack helicopter but can also carry 8 combat loaded soldiers.  It’s sort of a combination attack helo and transport, though used predominately in the former role.

I haven’t the time to go into the history much, but after the failure of the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System/AH-56 Cheyenne program, the Army cast about for an improvement on the Cobra to serve as a dedicated anti-armor helo in Europe, to help oppose the massive Soviet superiority in tanks and armored vehicles.  Two aircraft were evaluated after the failure of the Cheyenne, the Bell 309 – an improved Cobra – and the Sikorsky S-67 Blackhawk (no relation to the Blackhawk of today).

The S-67 was a real departure from American attack helicopter practice in that it was also a very large aircraft that could carry several (some say 6, some 8) fully equipped men into combat, rather like the Hind.  It was also for a time the fastest American, if not the world’s, helicopter.

Anyway totes out of time, here she is:

Video shows troop insertion, but poor quality:

Later it was modified with a “fantail” ducted propeller tail rotor:

Weak, but I haven’t done one in ages.  Enjoy, I guess.  Some pics give an idea of the helicopter’s size:







1. Edison Frisbee - December 2, 2016

Why did the Cheyenne fail? It definitely had the “cool factor” going for it.

Tantumblogo - December 5, 2016

General lack of technological readiness, and a realization that the rather modest performance gains available from a compound helicopter were not really the right direction to try to go in. The latter part was an arguable decision, what was not arguable was that the electronics/software of the time were not up to the task of making the advanced targeting system work. The program was also poorly managed by Lockheed, so that costs ballooned (some of it, no fault of theirs) and eventually the Army realized the bird would simply never work the way they had hoped. In reality, it took another decade or more of technological development for the computers and software to get to the point of being really able to work full time in a real world environment.

The Air Force experienced a similar problem with the most advanced model of the F-111, the F-111D. From an avionics perspective, this was definitely the most advanced. It had some of the very first color multi-function displays, the nav/attack radar and computers were switched from analog to digital, and it had a computer-coupled INS with moving map and other really advanced features. It was intended to start entering service in 1969 but the electronics were not remotely ready. Even by ’74 there were still massive problems and the D’s were by far the most expensive -111s built. It was the late 70s by the time these things worked as they were supposed to, but in many cases they had followed paths that turned out to be technological dead-ends so the type was relegated to Cannon AFB, NM, as opposed to the later E and F models -with the older, analog electronics, largely – being deployed on the front line in Europe. By 1980 or so, it was apparent the electronic specs would have to be completely revised, and there was a massive program to upgrade all -111s with new electronics (which had, of course, advanced more than anyone could believe in the preceding decade) along digital lines and using correct program design, but the program only kinda got started before the Cold War ended and the F-111s were retired, to my mind, prematurely. USAF has never fully replaced that capability, the -111F with Pave Tack and 4 LGBs had a mission radius of over 1100 statue miles, unrefueled – the F-15E is about 400 miles less than that. But the -111 was always very expensive to operate, a maintenance bear (mostly because those analog components were becoming impossible to find – not re-equipping with digital components essentially terminated the bird’s useful service life) and so had to go. The Aussies only were able to keep their fleet operational for 16 more years because USAF kept 100+ retired -111s in the Boneyard ad Davis-Monthan for that express purpose, serving as a parts bin for components no longer made by anyone in ages.

Works the same for the B-52, too, but they are running out of some key components for those, apparently, especially the very advanced and capable (for its time) EVS – Electro-Optical Viewing System. Those are the chin blisters added to the BUFFS in the early 70s – one visual spectrum and one IR sensor each. The IR was incredibly capable for the time, it was only superseded in capability in other systems by the late 70s. Some things are having to be made by scratch at either Davis-Monthan on Tinker, which is the main B-52 repair depot.

It’s always dangerous to ask me a question.

2. Tim - December 5, 2016

The snowflakes are back!!!!!

Amillennial - December 5, 2016

Heh. I completely misread that. I thought you were referring to the generation Y kids. I was looking through this post wondering where they were…

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