Video footage appears to show the moment a Russian Russian Mi-24/35 gunship helicopter was shot down by a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) in the Kyiv Oblast province of Ukraine. The helicopter was shot down around 25 miles north of Kyiv, per Bellingcat. In the video, a helicopter immediately bursts into flames and crashes to the ground after being targeted by a weapon. the clip demonstrates the lethality of lightweight, highly portable, shoulder-fired missile systems used for point air defense at short range against low-flying targets like helicopters.
According to the military and civil aviation website The Aviationist that the helicopter appears to have been shot down by an FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS. Several nations have said they are providing Stinger missiles to the Ukrainian forces amid the Russian invasion, including Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, and the US. But the Aviationist has pointed out the Stinger is not suitable for such a low flying target (10m altitude/400m distance), suggesting the hit was taken with by Polish Piorun (Thunderbolt) GROM-M MANPADS man-portable air defense missile systems.
The Piorun system including the launch unit and the missile has a total weight of 16.5 kg. The design is based on the Soviet-made 9K38 Igla (SA-18 Grail). The set is a deep modernization of the PPZR Grom set, therefore the second designation of the missile is GROM-M. It uses a new short-range missile including a new warhead that can hit a flying target at a distance from 400 m to 6 km and from an altitude of 10 m minimum to 4 km maximum. The Piorun is designed to be operated by one soldier. It consists of a single-stage projectile, a single-use tubular launcher, a starting mechanism, and an on-ground power supply.
During a press conference that was held on February 1, 2022, President of Poland Andrzej Sebastian said, Poland will provide Ukraine with “any help” to supply the country with humanitarian and military needs including Piorun GROM-M MANPADS. In February 2022, Mesko company from Skarzysko-Kamienna successfully negotiated a deal with the US Department of Defense. Its object is the production and supply of “PIORUN” man-portable air defense systems (MANPAD) for the U.S. Army. The course of the recent Ukraine conflicts has shown that the US and allied troops deployed in the operational theater may face a threat posed by the enemy rotary-wing assets, or unmanned platforms.
#Ukraine: One of the first glimpses of a PPZR Piorun MANPADS in the hands of Ukrainian forces.
Essentially a very heavily upgraded 9K38 Igla, this Polish system was provided to UA recently and may help explain some of the the recent RuAF losses. pic.twitter.com/uZDtdcMdWr
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 5, 2022