Military Aviation

The story of the Hungarian Air Force Mi-24 pilot who scored two simulated gun kills against US Air National Guard F-15C Eagle fighter jets

The Mil Mi-24

The Mil Mi-24 Hind is a large helicopter that 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 away of missiles and guns – it is unique in the attack helicopter class being able to carry up to 8 troops in its cabin.

In 1995, Germany gifted the Hungarian Air Force with 20 Mi-24 helicopters.

By 2012 Hungary had placed its fleet of Hinds into storage. However, as part of the Zrinyi 2026 program to modernise the Hungarian Armed Forces, six Mi-24P and two Mi-24V have later been modernised in Russia and a further four Mi-24V modernised in Hungary. This upgrade will see the Hind remain in service with the Hungarian Air Force until the late 2020s.

The Hungarian Air Force Mi-24s took part in “Load Diffuser” exercise in June 2008 along with ten F-15C Eagle fighters from the Louisiana Air National Guard [159th Fighter Wing Bayou Militia]. The drill lasted two weeks long and was held in Hungary.

Pilot and flight instructor Thomas Kolb says on Quora. ‘The Hungarians were flying two Mi-24V Hind helicopters playing the role of bush-flying enemy aircraft that the F-15’s were tasked to take out. The Eagles were equipped with AIM-9X Sidewinder training missiles with helmet-mounted sights, while the Hinds had only their onboard guns.

‘The F-15’s were pretty successful locating and engaging the Hinds, but soon the helicopter crew learnt how to hide in the ground clutter and among the rolling hills where the Eagles simply couldn’t find them. At the same time, they were constantly given tactical info from AWACS so they knew what the Eagles were doing.

The Hungarian Air Force Mi-24 pilot who scored two simulated gun kills against F-15C Eagle fighter jets

‘A few times, Lt. Éva ‘Vivi’ Horváth, the female pilot of one of the Mi-24V’s was able to keep a firm “target lock” on an F-15 in the gunsight, while the pilot of the Eagle (as later confirmed in the debriefing sessions), was completely unaware of being directly aimed at.’

Kolb continues;

‘Being a peacetime exercise, no shots were fired of course, but if it had been a real situation, the Eagle would most likely have sustained a crippling damage from the Hind’s cannons. Presumably not enough to blow it out of the sky, but definitely enough to punch a few holes in its wings and force it out of the engagement.

‘The Hungarian pilots were later joking whether or not the Louisiana Eagle pilot got some heat from his buddies about having been shot down by a helicopter flown by a girl.

‘According to the Hungarian team, several additional hits would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the rules of the practice engagement (hard deck, max speed, etc.). Also, had the Hinds been equipped with IR-missiles, they could have taken out the fighter completely (the Hungarian Air Force did not use R-60M missiles on their Mi-24V’s so it was never an option).’

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15C Eagle 144th Fighter Wing, 194th Fighter Squadron, CA/80-004 – California Air National Guard – Fresno ANG Base, CA – 2016

Eagle silhouettes

Kolb concludes;

‘The “hits” were honored (just for fun and to mock the Eagle pilots) by painting “Eagle Down” silhouettes on the helicopter.

‘“We weren’t informed that this is impossible, so we just did it”’

Source: Info taken from this Hungarian article.

Photo credit: Hungarian Air Force and Aldo Bidini via Wikipedia

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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