The fighting in Ukraine shows the vulnerability of one of modern militaries’ most important weapons

Ukrainian troops inspect a wrecked Russian Mi-8 helicopter near Kyiv, April 9, 2022.

The drones and light, portable missiles used in Ukraine have taken a heavy toll on troops and material.
The spread of such weapons raises doubts about the future role of heavy-duty hardware, including helicopters.
Those weapons are here to stay, but militaries can do more to help pilots and aircraft survive.

Instead of the quick Russian victory that Moscow and much of the world expected, the war in Ukraine has dragged on for nearly four months, with both sides losing thousands of troops and hundreds of aircraft and vehicles.

The havoc wreaked by drones and other light, portable weapons has spurred renewed debate about the vulnerability of heavy-duty military hardware on modern battlefields — including helicopters, which are integral part of many militaries plans to maneuver and fight.

The end of an era?
A wrecked Ukrainian military helicopter being transported in Kharkiv, May 21, 2022.

In a recent column in Aviation Week, defense and aerospace analyst Sash Tusa argued that the technological advances in sensors and anti-aircraft weapons on display in Ukraine is evidence that air assault and helicopter combat missions in general are becoming less viable.

In the opening hours of the invasion, elite Russian VDV airborne troops tried to capture the Hostomel airbase near Kyiv with an air assault. Dozens of Mi-8 transport helicopters, guarded by Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters, ferried an assault force of paratroopers to the Ukrainian airfield.

The Russian air assault was ultimately a failure, as the Russian military failed to reinforce its airhead with follow-on forces and the Ukrainians counterattacked in force.

Russian paratroopers at Ukraine’s Hostomel Airport, March 12, 2022.

The failure of that mission — which resembled how the US and other major …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

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