Marines train with Russian aircraft

(MILITARY TIMES)   Marines in Arizona will soon duke it out with a crop duster and a Russian helo in a new effort to understand enemy tactics and weaponry.

The Antonov An-2, built after World War II, and the Russian Mi-24 Hind, a 1980s-era helo, will be flown at the biannual Weapons and Tactics Instructor course aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

The An-2 is a bit of an oddity. Designed as a crop duster, it became widely used by the Russian military as a workhorse for everything from carrying cargo, to troop insertion, to reconnaissance. The Chinese began producing their own copy of the aircraft in the 1970s. North Korea uses it today.

While the An-2 might look like a joke as it putters across the battlefield with a single prop engine, it can be a deadly tool. In 1991, the Croatian air force used them to drop makeshift bombs during that country’s civil war.

The Mi-24, on the other hand, looks just as tough as it is. Designed by the Soviets for use in Afghanistan in the 1980s, it is the Russian counterpart to the U.S. AH-64 Apache. It laid waste to many Afghan villages and was feared by the Mujahedeen. Armed to the teeth with rockets and machine guns, it can also carry eight shock troops in full battle rattle. The Mi-24 was sold widely to Pakistan, Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Peru, just to name a few. Today the Mi-24 and the similar-but-updated Mi-35 are being flown by the Afghan air force, which is trained by U.S. and NATO pilots.

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One Response to Marines train with Russian aircraft

  • The An-2 is a great airplane, you can carry 12-16 people in it, it has STOL capability, It’s contructed very ruggedly and can be landed on very rough terrain without modification by driving the tail wheel into the ground then forcing the front wheels down, this is a landing everyone should experience.

    Maintenance is simple, repairs of bullet holes are a matter of removing the dead pilot and slapping fabric over the whole.

    I believe it holds the record for the longest production run of any aircraft.

    You can buy them for about 10,000 usd and restore them, I am told buy 3 grounded craft and you will be able to make one airworthy with plenty of parts left over. We have 3 of them at the local air club. Taking the yoke you almost feel like you are exaggerating the needed controls esp when coming from something like a Cessna, the sensation is a lot like driving an old truck with loose steering, a lot of work at the controls.

    I love the AN-2, it’s an ideal multirole airecraft and for the money you are going to be hard pressed to find anything close to it, even with the new chinese model.

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