Video: Free Syrian Army's anti-aircraft fire aiming at regime's gunship helicopter

Update Apr. 11, 2012 19.50GMT

The following video, posted by a visitor on The Aviationist Facebook page shows anti-aircraft fire from opposition forces/Free Syrian Army (FSyA) aiming at a Syrian regime’s Mil Mi-8/17 Hip helicopter.

It’s extremely hard to say which type of weapon was used to try to shoot down the chopper. It’s a heavy machinegun of some kind.

Bjørn Holst Jespersen suggests that, it could be a ZSU-23-4 “Shilka”.  The Shilka has been seen used by the regime in city warfare, but are designed as a radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system. The pattern of the tracer projectiles resembles what can be seen in some of the videos available on Youtube.

However, Michaël SES Svejgaard, a former RDAF fighter pilot with 4,500 hrs on single seat, single engine who joined the Air Force in 1962 and did the Cuban Crisis and the Cold War and studied Soviet threat systems during the Cold War threat believes the sound and the rate of fire of the weapon in the video are not those of a ZSU-23/4 but of a ZPU-4 quad 14,5 mm.

Although the Free Syria Army groups are not believed to own such vehicles the rebels could have put their hands on a ZPU-4 or could be using lighter anti-aircraft guns mounted over pick-ups as done by the thuwar (Gaddafi oppositors) in Libya. Provided that the video was really filmed in Syria lately, of course.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.