A few days ago, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the “crash” of a Russian Mi-28H Havoc attack helicopter near the city of Homs. Both pilots were killed and their bodies were recovered by Russian special operations forces. The ministry asserted that “the helicopter was not shot down,” but we’re going to raise the Baloney Sauce flag on that assertion. The President-S system has been declared “untouchable,” so naturally if a Havoc came down, it would need to be something other than hostile fire, right?
So here’s a few facts about this particular incident. The helicopter was the fourth Russian-made military aircraft to be felled by advanced man-portable air defense systems, otherwise known as MANPADS. Daesh and other groups are in position of said advanced MANPADS. The Havoc is also equipped with the advanced defensive suite known as President-S, but also known as the L370-5.
The President-S suite includes a laser illumination detector, ultraviolet missile approach warning system, an electro-optical electronic warfare system, a command and control system, and decoy flares. The suite can be installed directly into the helicopter’s airframe, or can be varried on external hardpoints as well, making it particularly versatile. According to specs, the system can identify incoming shoulder-fired missiles and cause them to deviate from their paths.
Apparently, not so much…
So it will be interesting to see how this latest development–or an exploitation of vulnerability, shall we say–will affect Russian tactics with their helicopters. For that matter, how will it affect the tactics of the U.S. and its combat airpower in the region?
Of additional concern is the potential of Daesh and other nefarious no-goodniks using that same capability against civilian targets–particularly those in Israel, or other regional governments with ties to the west or those directly supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.