Video of Ukrainian MANPADS Shooting Down Russian Gunship Helicopter Surfaces

MANPADS Ukraine
Screenshot from the frightening video of what is claimed to be a Russian Mi-24/35 being shot down by a Ukrainian MANPADS missile surfaced on Saturday Mar. 5, 2022.

Video Shows How Deadly Low Altitude Helicopter Ops – and MANPADS – Really Are.

A pretty terrifying video has surfaced out of Ukraine early on Mar. 5, 2022, showing the moment a Russian Mi-24/35 gunship helicopter is hit and killed by a Ukrainian man-portable air defense system or “MANPADS”.

The video was originally posted by Ukrainian journalist and politician Ihor Lutsenko and by the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff Facebook page. It then started to be shared across various social networks.

The video was verified as being genuine. We initially had doubts it could have been doctored: the emergence of several videos of dogfights, done in DCS flight simulator but actually fake, made us almost paranoid and believe this one could also have been computer-generated. However, thanks to our followers and readers we have been able to determine the current DCS capabilities are current unable to reach this degree of realism:

There’s still someone who claims it was taken years ago, but it looks like the confusion was created by a bad translation. The video has been geolocated.

The footage must have been taken by a drone (possibly a quad-rotor type like the DJI series), with some sort of HDR enhancement filter (possibly applied in post-processing phase) that would explain the extremely vivid colors. The drone was possibly pointing at the right direction at the right time because it was being used to spot Russian forces movements, or just because the remote operator had heard the noise of the chopper.

That being said, the clip is perhaps the clearest ever video of an operational use of a small, man-portable air defense missile being used in an operational setting. It clearly demonstrates the lethality of lightweight, highly portable, shoulder-fired missile systems used for point air defense at short range against low-flying targets like combat helicopters.

On Monday, news sources reported that, “the US is shipping hundreds of FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS to Ukraine, with 200 arriving on Mar. 1 alone. Latvia and Lithuania are also sending Stingers to bolster Ukrainian air defense capabilities.”

Some readers have pointed out the Stinger is not suitable for such a low flying target, suggesting the hit was taken with by Polish Piorun GROM Thunder MANPADS.

While it is not verified if this was a FIM-92 Stinger missile in this video, the video does reinforce the lethality of this category of weapons and their effectiveness. The video also shows how dangerous the low-altitude flight environment is for crews from both sides flying in the war zone.

File photo of a Russian Mi-35 gunship similar to the one shot down by a Ukrainian MANPADS missile on Saturday (Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikipedia)

A big thank you to all our readers and followers who helped us in the verification of the video and provided details, insights and explanations about it!

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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.
About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.

4 Comments

  1. NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System detected no fire at the alleged helicopter crash site. This confirms the video is a fake. 

  2. You know this isn’t a MI24 don’t you? And you know it’s not painted in Russian military colors, right?

  3. If you will allow me a small observation, why is the video in low resolution during the flight of the missile, the impact and fall, and suddenly, voila!, at 0:06 seconds it becomes high resolution? Why wasn’t in HR the whole time? It doesn’t smell good to me.

  4. If you permit, just a few physics based considerations:

    -Why the heli does not cast a shadow while the smoke does? It does not look like a sunny day anyway.

    -In the wake of the hit, the smoke should go up instead of down, it is hotter than cold air after all. This looks rather recorded dry ice if not simulation!!

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