DONETSK REGION, Ukraine (AP) — Skimming the treetops, three Soviet-era assault helicopters financial institution and swoop down on a subject after an early-morning mission to the entrance traces within the combat in opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Every day, they could fly three or 4 sorties, says the commander, whose two-crew Mi-24 helicopter, constructed about 40 years in the past, is older than he’s.
“We’re finishing up fight duties to destroy enemy automobiles, enemy personnel, we’re working with pitch-up assaults from a distance from the place the enemy can’t get us with their air protection system,” stated the commander, who spoke on situation of anonymity for operational safety causes, in keeping with army laws.
The battle in Ukraine is basically an artillery warfare, with territory being fought for inch by inch underneath a barrage of shells and missiles. However Ukraine’s aviation capabilities play a major position within the combat, the pilot stated.
“The significance of the helicopters is big,” stated the commander, who’s a part of Ukraine’s twelfth Military Aviation Brigade.
Footage from a digital camera connected to the helicopter throughout a current fight mission reveals it flying over fields pockmarked with craters from artillery bombing, and firing missiles at Russian trenches that lower by way of the panorama.
“We’re taking pictures from the massive distance and hit the goal clearly, like there’s a cross on the goal and (the missiles) go by themselves the place they need to go,” the commander stated.
He would, nevertheless, prefer to fly a more recent mannequin.
“We have to grasp one thing new, one thing from overseas,” the commander stated. “It has higher traits. You possibly can maneuver extra on it, there are extra rockets on it and the weapons are extra highly effective. We are able to do extra duties with higher high quality and with much less threat for us.”
A number of international locations, together with the US and Britain, have pledged to ship, or have already despatched, helicopters to Ukraine as a part of army support because the begin of the warfare sparked by Russia’s invasion in Feb 2022.