Ukraine Shoot Down Russian Mi-24 Helicopter Gunship

A pretty terrifying video has surfaced out of Ukraine early on March 7, 2022, showing the moment a Russian Mi-24 gunship helicopter is hit and killed by a Ukrainian man-portable air defense system or “MANPADS”.

The video was originally posted by Ukrainian journalist and politician Ihor Lutsenko and by the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff Facebook page. It then started to be shared across various social networks.

The video was verified as being genuine. We initially had doubts it could have been doctored: the emergence of several videos of dogfights, done in DCS flight simulator but actually fake, made us almost paranoid and believe this one could also have been computer-generated. However, thanks to our followers and readers we have been able to determine the current DCS capabilities are current unable to reach this degree of realism:

There’s still someone who claims it was taken years ago, but it looks like the confusion was created by a bad translation. The video has been geolocated.

The footage must have been taken by a drone (possibly a quad-rotor type like the DJI series), with some sort of HDR enhancement filter (possibly applied in post-processing phase) that would explain the extremely vivid colors. The drone was possibly pointing at the right direction at the right time because it was being used to spot Russian forces movements, or just because the remote operator had heard the noise of the chopper.

That being said, the clip is perhaps the clearest ever video of an operational use of a small, man-portable air defense missile being used in an operational setting. It clearly demonstrates the lethality of lightweight, highly portable, shoulder-fired missile systems used for point air defense at short range against low-flying targets like combat helicopters.

On Monday, news sources reported that, “the US is shipping hundreds of FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS to Ukraine, with 200 arriving on Mar. 1 alone. Latvia and Lithuania are also sending Stingers to bolster Ukrainian air defense capabilities.”

Some readers have pointed out the Stinger is not suitable for such a low flying target, suggesting the hit was taken with by Polish Piorun GROM Thunder MANPADS.

File photo of a Russian Mi-35 gunship similar to the one shot down by a Ukrainian MANPADS missile on Saturday.

While it is not verified if this was a FIM-92 Stinger missile in this video, the video does reinforce the lethality of this category of weapons and their effectiveness. The video also shows how dangerous the low-altitude flight environment is for crews from both sides flying in the war zone.

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