Our special envoys in the Donbass, in the Kramatorsk region, went to meet a helicopter brigade. Helicopter pilots and their crews risking everything to target Russian positions around the front line. All on devices on the verge of rupture, put into service under the Soviet era, in the 1980s.
With our special correspondents in the Kramatorsk region, Vincent Souriau And Julien Boileau
In the same second, three aircraft take off and leave at low altitude towards the front line. There are half a dozen men on board. Pilot, navigator, gunners, who go out on average three times a day, for very short and very dangerous missions…
“We receive contact details the day before. For example, we know that at such and such a place, there is a group of enemy troops, with mortars. We mount 30 rockets on one aircraft, 30 rockets on the second. When they touch the ground, it covers 800 meters of ground. And we receive the info on returning: “After your visit, mortars destroyed. »
Three outings a day to the front line in the Bakhmout sector, on old Soviet helicopters on the brink of failure. The suicide bombers of the 18th Airmobile Brigade want new mounts with laser-guided systems. Listen tomorrow morning on @RFI @sausa78 pic.twitter.com/k98S1kVk5p
— Vincent Souriau (@vzrfi) March 1, 2023
Captain Vitaly’s unit does what it can with what it has: Soviet models, Mi-8 and Mi-24, put into service 40 years ago. The crews push them to the maximum, the mechanics keep them in working order, but faced with the Russian war machine, that is no longer enough.
We can’t lock targets because we don’t have radar systems on board that would be able to identify the correct trajectory and stay on target. None of our weapons are guided, and to fire, the pilot can only rely on himself, on his experience in the field. At the slightest mistake, he can miss his target.
We need modern equipment, this officer told us. Laser-guided projectiles, high-precision weapons, to limit our losses.
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