MANPADs Missile Hit Russian Mi-24 Gunship Near Azerbaijani Border on Monday.
A Russian military Mi-24 helicopter gunship (NATO reporting name “Hind”) was shot down on Monday, November 9, 2020, by a man-portable surface-to-air missile near the border with Azerbaijan. Early reports suggest the incident was fratricide or “friendly fire”. Other reports suggested the aircraft was flying armed escort for a ground vehicle caravan.
One report published shortly after the incident by the dw.com media outlet said that “Azerbaijan has admitted to shooting it down by accident”. The report went to say that, “Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement admitting to having shot down the helicopter, saying it was an accident”.
The reports of the downing being a friendly-fire incident appear credible. A statement attributed to the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister said, “The Azerbaijani side offers an apology to the Russian side in connection with this tragic incident”.
— Status-6 (@Archer83Able) November 9, 2020
The downing of the aircraft happened in the border region of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the border of Nagorno-Karabakh. The aircraft was reported to have been downed “in a gorge” near a village named Yeraskh.
The topography described in early reports suggest an area where the use of small, man-portable air defense systems can be highly effective against rotary wing aircraft, even heavily armored aircraft like the Mi-24 Hind gunship.