Was the Soviet Mi-24 'all that' compared to US attack helicopters?

Old memory, very fuzzy, but as I recall:

During Ollie North’s testimony about Iran-Contra (and whatever else), somewhere the discussion of the Soviet Mi-24 helicopter came up. North responded something to the effect “No disrespect meant to our own aircraft manufacturers, but. . . we should try to make one of these,” the intent apparently meaning that North thought it was a really cool machine compared to ours.

It’s been a while since I read about the “Hind” attack chopper, but I seem to recall that while it proved quite effective in the role of ground attack, it’s upkeep was a bit more than the Soviets were prepared to deal with.

These days, our own ground attack choppers would probably run rings around it.

The Mi-24 Hind wasn’t just an attack helicopter. It was a combination attack helicopter and troop carrier. You can compare this to the U.S. UH-1 Huey, which could be configured as a troop carrier or a gunship, but not both at the same time. The Soviet Army used the Hind’s dual capabilities to great advantage during the war in Afghanistan, which is why it caught Ollie North’s attention.

There still is no U.S. equivalent to the Mi-24.

Interestingly enough, the Wiki article on the Mi-24 Hind indicates that the Russian army is moving toward a gun-ship only attack helicopter force, without the capability for troop transport in their new attack helicopters - Mi-28 & Ka50s…

The Hind wasn’t as fast and agile as US attack choppers, but the thing was bulletproof up to .50 cal and the cockpit to 37mm. No US chopper has that kind of armor, most don’t have any real armor to speak of.

A dual role transport/gunship with that kind of armor would have been extremely valuable in Vietnam, which was still fresh in the mind in North’s day. I guess it would be valuable now too, but we’re not in the middle of a chopper war or have one fresh in our minds.


Ha! Coincidentally, that was the first time I had ever seen one!