Tag Archives: MCAS Yuma

U.S. Marines Request Contractors To Provide Russian-Built Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopters

Russian Mi-24 Attack or Mi-17 Transport Helicopters Could Augment Training Authenticity.

A report in the Marine Corps Times from Friday, April 27 by journalist Kyle Rempfer revealed that the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force Training Command has filed a solicitation for contractors to provide Russian-built Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter or an Mi-17 Hip transport helicopter to serve as accurate opposing forces threat simulation aircraft.

The aircraft would be equipped with electronic tracking pods for integration into simulated combat exercises at the MCAS Yuma Range and Training Area (RTA), a large training facility in the Arizona desert. The Yuma Range and Training Area accurately replicates current and potential threat environments throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

According to Rempfer’s report for the Marine Corps Times, the solicitation read in part,
“The [Mi-24] attack helicopter, due to its size, flight profile, firepower and defensive maneuvering capabilities, constitutes a unique threat creating a realistic, dissimilar and credible opposing force.”

In their potential role as a technically realistic opposing force flying against U.S. Marine ground forces in training the helicopters would accurately replicate the threat capabilities of many potential adversary forces. While the Mi-24 attack helicopter is primarily an air-to-ground attack helicopter the report also mentioned a potential role for any Russian helicopters acquired or contracted as providing a simulated opposing force capability against U.S. Marine Helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft to possibly include the UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Super Cobra and MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

The U.S. Marine Training Command’s request went on to read, “The scope of this effort is to provide familiarization of flight characteristics, capabilities and limitations of the foreign adversary rotary-wing and propeller driven aircraft,” according to the solicitation. “This will be accomplished by having accessibility to two foreign adversary contractor-provided aircraft that shall participate in certain exercise events as part of a realistic opposing force.”

The request for the opposing forces helicopters will include up to five annual training operations and a maximum of 40 total hours of flight time in VFR (daylight, fair weather Visual Flight Rules) conditions. Of further interest is a notation indicating interest in fixed wing aircraft. Russian fixed wing aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-27 have already been observed and photographed flying over the Nellis Training Range in Nevada.

A privately owned Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter at Nellis AFB, Nevada. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist.com)

In the combined air/ground combat role most commonly performed by the U.S. Marine Corps one relevant adversary aircraft for threat simulation may include the Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO codename “Frogfoot”), although no specific information indicates an interest in the Su-25 from the U.S. Marines.

A remarkable 57 countries currently use the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter, built at the Mil Helicopter Plant in Moscow, Russia. The aircraft is infamous in western nations for its rugged survivability and significant combat capability. The request for actual Mi-24 Hind helicopters seems to acknowledge the type’s unique and significant capabilities as a potential adversary.

There are currently at least two Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters privately owned in the U.S. by the Lancaster Air Museum in Lancaster, Texas. The aircraft fly frequently at events and airshows around the country.

Intense video brings you aboard USMC Huey helicopters during night and day CAS training

Join this Huey door gunner as he unloads on targets at Yodaville.

Taken on Apr. 3, 2015 the following clip shows a USMC Huey door gunner providing close air support at Yodaville, near MCAS Yuma, during Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2-15.

WTI is a seven week event hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1).

MAWTS-1 provides standardized tactical training and certification of unit instructor to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing Aviation Weapons and Tactics.

Yodaville is the first urban close air support range in the U.S. military and it features an urban layout very similar to the terrain in many villages in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here the USMC helicopters take part in close-air support exercises, such as the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course, giving the chance to their gunners to experience realistic training sessions focused on providing cover to ground operations as well as to defend the helicopters from ground threats.


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Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Aggressor plane in a cool Soviet-Tiger color scheme.

Wearing the special paint scheme that celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the VMFT-401 “Snipers”, this Franken-Tiger (761586 / LS-00) plane was photographed by Tony Lovelock at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, on Jan. 26, 2012.

The aircraft, along with the typical Soviet cross, sports a cool tiger rudder.

Noteworthy, along with the new Air Force’s aggressors paint jobs even the Snipers’ one was first reported in Fall 2011.

Noteworthy, the Franken-Tiger is a hybrid plane, made with the cockpit of an F-5F and the rest of the airframe coming from a former Swiss Air Force F-5E. It is used by the U.S. Navy aggressor’s squadron to provide “adversary services” during Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) courses.

All images by Tony Lovelock