PARIS --- China’s People’s Daily has posted a series of photographs on its website purporting to show how a Russian Mi-8 helicopter survived what it describes as a ground-launched missile.
The photographs are published by the Xinhua news agency and credited to a Chinese website (mil.huanqiu.com), are said to show several phases of the engagement, during which what appear to be three different missile warheads explode on or near the helicopter.
The Russian Mi-8 is hit by a ground-launched missile. Note how it is almost completely engulfed by the fireball, with only parts of its starboard cabin visible, indicating detonation at a very short distance.
There is no way to authenticate them, but taken together they appear at least plausible.
The damage visible in the final photograph (which we have reproduced above) is extensive, and includes the engine as well as the airframe.
Seen from below, the missile’s trajectory is clearly shown by its smoke plume, while the proximity-fused warhead detonates as it passes the engine exhausts.
Other photographs show other explosions, which may be different engagements or different views of the same one. In its captions, Xinhua says “Surprisingly, the copter did not crash but continued to fly and flee battlefield quickly. Eventually the copter landed safely at airbase in Syria.
The entire sequence (10 photos) can be viewed here on the People’s Daily website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: A reader has drawn our attention to a video posted in November 2013 which appears to contain some of the same views as the photos released by Xinhua Oct 27, and purporting to show a Russian Mi-8 damaged during ongoing combat operations there.
In fact, the video was originally shot as an advertisement by a Ukrainian company, Motor Sich (http://motorsich.com/eng), which produces the Mi-8’s turboshaft engines, and subsequently posted on YouTube. It was said to show a Syrian Mi-8 hit by a Manpads missile at the beginning of the civil war. We reproduce it here:
The video does not show any close-up of the damaged helicopter, and the similarity is not sufficient to draw any final conclusion, so we leave our readers to draw their own conclusions, on the strength of the documents themselves.)
-- Oct 27, 2015, 21:00 GMT: Added Editor's Note and video.