Earlier this year, the U.S. Marine Corps filed a solicitation to procure their own Russian Mi-24 Hind or Mi-17 HIP transport helicopter with one specific goal in mind: realistic preparation for a fight against Russian forces. Not just that, however, they also want a full contractor staff to support and operate the aircraft against Marines in a number of training rotations.
“The attack helicopter will act as an aggressor to interfere with the exercises forces conducting offensive, defensive and stability operations,” the document said. “This will include potential use during friendly aviation operations in order to force decision making.”
The use of “aggressor” aircraft is not uncommon, and the U.S. military has increasingly warmed to the idea of private adversary contractors serving as the notional opponents for U.S. troops as they transition away from training that focuses on counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism warfare and back toward the possibility of contending with a well equipped and technologically capable national military. There was little need to prepare for combat operations with a Russian Hind bearing down on you throughout the past two decades of the Global War on Terror, but that possibility has begun to seem increasingly possible under the current geopolitical climate.
In service since 1969, the MI-24 Hind is still considered to be a highly capable attack helicopter. (Flickr)