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Mil-Helicopters in World-Wide Service, Part 1
By Tom Cooper
Nov 26, 2004, 06:39

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Typical Afghan Mi-17 of the late 1980s looked like this. Examples of the same version and with very similar camouflage seen were also 555 and 768, the later of which also had a nose-mounted machine-gun and exhaust suppressors. The example seen here, serialled 763, was shot down over Panjsher Valley, in 1986.

Dostum-Golboddin Militia Air Force Mi-8 as seen in the mid-1990s. This helicopter was captured by Taliban sometimes in 1995 or 1996: it survived not only them but also the US-led onslaught in 2001, and was last seen in early 2004 in western Afghanistan, still wearing the same camouflage and markings (the serial on the right side of the fuselage was applied right behind the cockpit) - albeit in inoperational condition.

Already in 1989 the forces of Jamiat-e-Islami (led by Ahmad-Shah Massoud), were suprisingly reinforced when two DRAAF pilots defected with them to the Panjshir Valley. Although the spares support was minimal, and already by the mid-1990s both were un-serviceable, the two helicopters survived and remained with Jamiat until 2001. This helicopter was last seen in the same year, with green fields of the camouflage oversprayed heavily with dark green colour.

Hezb-e-Wahadat Mi-17MD, as seen in 1996 or 1997. Hezb-e-Wahadat is known to have been supported by Iran through the 1990s, and it is possible that this helicopter was also acquired via Tehran.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - or "Taliban" - Air Force (IEAAF) Mi-25 as seen over Kabul, during a parade in early 2001. Sadly, no markings are clearly recognizible: it is possible that is has got an all white "roundel" behind the stub-wings, or that a four-digit serial was applied there instead.


In the last three years, the South African company ATE and the Algerian Air Force have upgraded around 30 Mi-25s and Mi-35s to Mi-24 Mk.III or so-called "Super Hind" standard. In this configuration the whole spares support and technical documentation, as well as the entire weapons system of the helicopter were replaced, and new weapons - including a 20mm gun and Mokopa ATGMs - were installed as well.

SN-36 is one of some 40 Mi-17s and Mi-171s Algeria purchased during the 1990s from the Ukraine and Russia. The type played an ever important role during the long anti-terror war in that country, mainly by transporting commando troops and providing them with fire-support.


Angolan Mi-24 in colours typical for Hinds supplied to Angola through the 1980s and most of the 1990s.

The latest batch of (reportedly) 12 Mi-24s and 14 Mi-35s was supplied to Angola starting in November 2000. Many of these helicopters were supplied in this quite unusual camouflage pattern. Note also the addition of exhaust difusers - previously an usual feature on Angolan helicopters, but then required due to acquisition of SA-14 MANPADs by UNITA. The serial, "H-377", is also clearly indicating the high attrition of Angolan Mi-24s since the 1980s (the lowest known serial is "H-302", seen on a Mi-24D shot down in 1985)..


Armenian Mi-24P as seen sometimes in late 1990s.


Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso received at least two Mi-4 helicopters in the mid-1970s. One of them was seen in derelict condition and approximately this camouflage at Ougadougou, in the mid-1990s. It remains unknown if lower surfaces were painted light blue or light grey, as usual for this type, or if any kind of national markings was applied on the underside of fuselage.

Since the late 1990s Burkina Faso Air Force operates at least two Mi-17s. They wear a camouflage shown here, and serials BF-2001 as well as BF-2002.


Ever since the start of the direct US involvement in Afghanistan, the CIA has organized a small air arm, equipped with at least two An-32 transports and several Mi-8/17 helicopters, acquired from different sources within the former USSR. This Mi-17 is used, together with several other examples, for transporting CIA-paramilitaries (but also members of specific other US special services) around Afghanistan, since October 2001.


Almost nothing is known about several Mi-8s and Mi-17s Congo-Brazzaville acquired probably from the Ukraine, in 1997. The only available photograph shows this Mi-17 (without intake filters, but equipped with a winch mounted over port doors) from such a high angle, that only very few details of the camouflage pattern around the cockpit can be made out. The position of the marking - if any are applied - is a guess; it is not known if there is any kind of serials or codes.

DR Congo (Former Zaire)

One of three Mi-24s supplied to Zaire in 1997, 9T-RM.2 was flown by Serbian mercenaries during the war against RDC-rebels.


Cote d'Ivoire



Ecuadorian Army Aviation has several Mi-17s in service, serialled in the range E-481 thru E-484. These helicopters saw heavy duty during the war with Peru, in 1995.

Note: Do NOT use any of these artworks (owned by Tom Cooper & ACIG.org; Copyright 2004-2005) without explicit permission from ACIG.org editor.

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