August 2, 2016

QUESTION ASKED: Why Did Russia Send ‘The Terminator’ on a Humanitarian Mission in Syria?

The Mil Mi8-AMTSh, nicknamed “the Terminator,” is an assault variant of the veteran transport helicopter, equipped with multiple hard points for carrying missiles and unguided rockets. In several videos of the wreckage we can see a B-8V20A rocket pod.

Nic Jenzen-Jones of Armament Research Services (ARES), an Australia-based weapons monitoring group, told The Daily Beast:

“In this case, the Mi-8 AMTSh appears to have been fitted with two B-8V20A rocket pods, each capable of carrying 20 80 mm S-8 rockets. From the images available so far, it is not clear whether the rocket pods were loaded. The helicopter in question was also equipped with the Prezident-S electronic countermeasures suite, designed to warn and protect the aircraft against anti-aircraft threats emanating from the ground, as well as naval and aerial platforms.”

If the rocket pods were empty, then the helicopter either took off unarmed—rather inadvisable in a war zone—or had fired all of its munitions before crash-landing.

Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not, but the Mi-8 in question was shot down over the same rebel-held Syrian town which may have been subjected to a helicopter-delivered chemical attack last night.

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