Iraq's first Mi-28 Havoc 'Night Hunter' attack chopper has taken flight in Iraq. These are some of the most heavily armed and capable attack helicopters in the world. Three were delivered alongside four new Mi-35 'Hind' attack helicopters from Russia as part of an expedited order placed to help fight the spread of ISIS.
The Mi-28NE is roughly analogous to the US Army's AH-64D Apache and is adapted to fight at night and in adverse weather conditions. The chopper is armed with a chin-mounted 30mm cannon and can carry up to 16 guided missiles as well as 40 unguided rockets or two gun pods. Igla air-to-air missiles, mine dispensers and bombs can also be carried.
The Mi-28's two person cockpit (pilot in the back, weapons officer up front) is heavily armored and can take direct hits from a .50 caliber machine gun, and the helicopter's combat avionics system includes a helmet mounted display that is tied directly to the aircraft's FLIR and radar systems in a similar fashion as the Apache's monocle system.
The Havoc is also equipped with a modern self defense suite that will make engaging the aircraft by ISIS ground forces much harder than Iraq's Hinds, of which some have been shot down in the past few months.
It is not exactly clear just how many Mi-28s Iraq has ordered, or how they paid Russia for the advanced choppers (some sources put the number at 15), which are said to cost between $15M and $20M each. Nonetheless, considering that Iraq's F-16s are still not operational, their Mi-28NEs will bring a new level of offensive capability to Iraq's fledgling air forces and will allow them to contribute from the air, on some level, to the fight against ISIS which has taken control of a third of their country.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer that edits the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com