Previous visitors to the Air Tattoo will recall the regular appearance of the soviet-era Mil Mi-24V/35 Hind solo display by the Czech Air Force. This large helicopter once formed the backbone of the attack helicopter fleet throughout the Soviet Union and gained notoriety during the 1980's in Afghanistan. Not only is the Hind armed with a wide array of missiles, bombs and guns - it is unique in the attack helicopter class being able to carry up to 8 troops in its cabin.
In an Air Tattoo first, the Czech Air Force will be performing its Hind tactical Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) demonstration alongside a Mil Mi-171Sh Hip tactical transport helicopter. Unlike traditional Search and Rescue, CSAR is often conducted in combat zones to locate and recover pilots that have been shot down behind enemy lines in all weather conditions and at any time of day. As a result, the CSAR team requires the ability to aggressively extract the pilot on the ground whilst other assets, in this case the Hind, provides protection overhead.
In 2019, the Czech Government signed a contract with the United States to begin replacing its fleet of Mi-24V/35 Hind variants with the Bell AH-1Z Viper, the latest version of the famous Cobra gunship which is operated by the US Marine Corps, there is currently an initial batch of four on orders.
Photo Credit: Tim Houquet