Second Shipment of Russian Attack Helicopters Arrives in Iraq

Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia
Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia

A second shipment of Russian-made Mi-28NE attack helicopters arrived in Iraq over the weekend. The first shipment of Russian attack helicopters was received in late August.

The helicopters are perfectly suited for hunting down and destroying bands of ISIS fighters day or night.

According to Sputnik News, the Mi-28NE “is designed for search-and-destroy missions during any time of day and during difficult weather conditions, and can destroy armored and non-armored vehicles and equipment, enemy manpower and low-speed aerial targets.”

The Mi-28NE is fitted with a 30-mm cannon, “9M114 Shturm or 9M120 Ataka anti-tank guided missiles, 9M39 Igla-V and R-3 air-to-air missiles, S-8 and S-13 unguided rockets, and UPK-23-250V 23-mm machine gun pods.”

On September 26 Breitbart News reported that retired General David Petraeus said ISIS could not be defeated by airstrikes alone. He made clear that while fighting them from a distance could help in “disrupting” ISIS, Iraqi troops would have to get closer to them if they were ultimately going to be defeated.

He suggested Iraqi ground forces would be necessary in a war that will last “months or years, not days or weeks.”

The attack helicopters give Iraqis numerous options, as the Mi-28NEs can be used in a support role for ground forces or as an intermediate form of attack against the enemy–one that is not as far removed from the battlefield as airstrikes, yet not as close as ground forces combat.

In October ABC News reported that the US began using Apache AH-64 attack helicopters inside Iraq to take out ISIS forces. The Apaches have been used both as an intermediate form of attack against ISIS units and in a “close air support” role for Iraqi security forces.

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