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Ukrainian Mi-24 Helicopters Are Now Using Hydra 70mm Rockets

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Mi-24 Hydra
A screenshot from the video below showing the US-made 70 mm rocket being loaded on the Mi-24.

The rockets are being used with specially adapted M261 rocket pods.

Few months after the US government announced the supply of Hydra 70 mm rockets to Ukraine, we now have evidence of them being used on Mi-24 Hind helicopters. In fact, a video emerged on social medias shows an aircrew loading the US-made 70 mm rockets in an adapted M261 rocket pod under the stub wing of a Mi-24V.

The helicopter appears to be one of the Hinds donated by the Czech Republic last year. The Hydra 70 mm rocket and the 19-shot M261 rocket pod are apparently replacing the S-8 80 mm rocket and the 20-shot B-8V20 rocket pod usually seen under on Ukrainian Mi-24s. Apart for the pylon adapter installed on the pod, we don’t know if other modifications were required to employ the new unguided rockets.

The Hydra rockets were supplied with the laser-guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) kits, however this variant so far has only been seen in use with ground launch platforms. The rockets seen in the video appears to be equipped with the standard unguided M151 High-Explosive warhead.

According to the Ukrainian Militarnyi website, US-made ammunition is gradually replacing Soviet-era S-8 80mm unguided rockets, which are already depleted due to their continued use by Su-25 attack aircraft and Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. In fact, the Su-25 has been sighed using for some months the LAU-10 4-shot rocket pods loaded with the Zuni 5-inch Folding-Fin Aircraft Rocket (FFAR).

Interestingly, the aircrew in the video is also wearing a US-made Gentex HGU-56/P Rotary Wing Aircrew Ballistic Helmet and a Maxillofacial Shield. The helmets were purchased last year by Ukraine to improve the chances of survival of their helicopter pilots.

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.





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