No IFF: Russia shoots down its own Mi-28N attack helicopter

The moment the Mi-28N chopper bursts in flames. Photo by the Sun.

A Russian Hind gunship helicopter was mistakenly shot down by Russian air defenses, according to reports from the HelicopterPilot channel on Telegram, known for its close ties to the Russian military.

The incident resulted in the loss of the helicopter crew.

Details surrounding the incident, including its location, have not been disclosed. However, it’s notable that Russian forces have increasingly relied on attack helicopters like the Mi-24/28/35 series to counter drone threats, shifting away from direct combat support roles.

Russia managed to shoot down its own Su-35 and Su-34 fighter bombers. The lack of identification friend-or-foe (IFF) and datalink were two primary reasons the Russian Air Force did not operate in a formation and within occupied territories of Ukraine.

The Russian military lacks networking and a common datalink amongst forces, creating communication barriers for multi-domain operations in the Ukraine war. The Russian soldiers have been spotted carrying commercial-off-the-shelf walkie talkies and FM-band antennas in the battle. Ukrainian forces mucked Russians by swearing and interfering with Russian FM-band radios.

Some sources suggest that the helicopter was downed in the Rostov region during another attack by Ukrainian drones on a military target. Yet, there is currently no official confirmation of this claim.

This incident adds to a series of friendly fire mishaps within the Russian military, attributed to coordination errors, panic, and technical malfunctions. Such incidents have seen Russian forces accidentally downing their own fighter jets and even transport planes.

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