The Minister of Defense of Slovakia, Jaroslav Naď, announced that the nation has donated five helicopters to Ukraine. According to information he has given, Slovakia donated four Mil Mi-17s (NATO reporting name: Hip) and one Mil Mi-2 (NATO reporting name Hoplite), adding that the helicopters are already “after safe delivery,” meaning they have been delivered already days ago under secrecy.
The Mi-17 is a medium multipurpose two-engine turbo-shaft helicopter of classic arrangement with a five-bladed main rotor and a three-bladed anti-torque tail rotor, designed predominantly for transport of personnel.
The Hip, unlike its predecessor – Mi-8 helicopter – has a three-bladed anti-torque rotor at the left rear side, and the intake openings are equipped with deflectors separating solid particles from air (sand, dust, etc.).
The Mi-2 instead is a light multipurpose two-engine helicopter of Russian design with classic arrangement of a three-blade bearing and a two-blade balance rotor. It was designed to replace the predecessor – type Mi-1 – and it can be used for transportation of personnel and cargo, and for training and reconnaissance tasks including rescue operations.
The first prototype of the Mi-2 made its first flight in September 1961. It can accommodate up to eight passengers, or 700 kg of cargo after the removal of seats, or two stretchered and two seated persons. Under the fuselage, a load of up to 800 kg can be hung. Each side of the fuselage can be equipped with additional fuel tanks for a total of 476 litres of fuel.
While the Mi-2s have been retired from service already years ago, the Mi-17s are still being used in Slovak Air Force together with US made UH-70M Black Hawks. Slovak Air Force has been operating 12 samples of Mi-17s, however with only four being in active service while the rest of the machines are at the end of their operational life. Two “Hips” have been undergoing an overhaul in the nation’s aircraft overhaul center Letecké opravovne Trenčín. The machines, delivered to Ukraine, have been (according to the Minister Naď) already replaced by the Black Hawk helicopters, thus not influencing operational capabilities of the Slovak Air Force.
As already reported, Slovakia donated its sole S-300PMU anti-aircraft system to Ukraine in April. Even though the rumors also speculated about donating MiG-29 fighters, Minister Naď stated that Slovakia’s eastern neighbor side didn’t ask for them. In May it was also announced that Czech Republic has donated Mil Mi-24 helicopters to Ukraine.
Photo credit: NATO
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