In 1988 two Night Stalkers MH-47 Chinooks flew almost 500 miles at night to retrieve the Mil Mi-24 without being detected.
Operation Mount Hope III was a top secret clandestine American military operation to capture a crashed Soviet-made Mil Mi-25 “Hind-D” attack helicopter, an export model of the Soviet Mi-24. The aircraft had crashed and been abandoned in the conflict between Libya and Chad. In 1988 two U.S. MH-47 Chinooks of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (AKA Night Stalkers) flew almost 500 miles (800 km) at night to the site and retrieved the helicopter without being detected. The mission was conducted entirely within Chad, with the approval of the government of Chad.
In April 1987, a retreating, fully armed Libyan Air Force Mi-25 was captured by French and Chadian military troops after the crew abandoned the helicopter. The Hind was put in storage in Ouadi Doum. The U.S. Department of State negotiated with Government of Chad to conduct an operation to retrieve the Hind and received permission. The Chadians would not provide assistance. Training was conducted at White Sands Missile Range. The operation was initiated on Jun. 10, 1988. A C-5 Galaxy landed at N’Djamena International Airport with two MH-47s in the cargo hold and 75 troops. French troops also assisted in the operation with one contingent of troops and a few Mirage F.1s. The Chinooks were offloaded and the troops started flying towards Ouadi Doum; the Hind was still parked there. The crew evaded detection by the Libyans and retrieved the Hind and started flying back toward N’Djamena with assistance from two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft at two FARP (Forward Arming and Refueling Point) points; one in Faya-Largeau and one in Moussoro.
Despite sandstorms, the Chinooks reached the FARPs and returned to N’Djamena with the Hind. The Mi-25 Hind was loaded onto a C-5 and the Chinooks on another C-5 and transported to the U.S.
Photo credit: U.S. Army