Soviet Aircraft Shot Down by Stingers

Mujahedeen rebels aim US-made Stinger missiles near Gardez, Afghanistan.

Afghan guerrillas own a downed Soviet Mi-8B helicopter gunship, near the Salang Highway, a vital supply route north from Kabul to the Soviet border. Picture released on January 12, 1981.

There are many claims about the impact of the Stinger Missile given to the Mujahedin during the Soviet – Afghan War. Some of the lost aircraft were shot down by the Redeye missile. Redeye was an earlier IR missile.

AIRCRAFT SHOT DOWN

What is known is that during the war, the Soviets lost about 330 helicopters and around 120 jets during the entire war 1979 – 89.

Mil Mi-24’s SHOT DOWN

A total of 50 Hinds were lost during the entire war. While many were shot down, the type of missile used was not always known. The Stinger was delivered to the Mujahedin in September 1986. The first confirmed downing of a Mi-24 by a Stinger was done by engineer Ghaffar, of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami. He brought down the first Hind gunship with a Stinger on September 25, 1986 near Jalalabad

Here are the losses of the Mi 24 during 1986–89.

1986

    25 September 1986 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    19 October 1986 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter was shot down.

    29 November 1986 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    29 November 1986 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

1987

    12 January 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    27 February 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    21 April 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    18 May 1987 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter was shot down.

    31 May 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    4 June 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    9 June 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    1 July 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    15 July 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    29 September 1987 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    30 October 1987 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter was shot down.

1988

    16 February 1988 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter was shot down

    26 February 1988 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter was shot down

    29 February 1988 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter shot down

    18 April 1988 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    20 April 1988 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    21 August 1988 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter shot down

    27 August 1988 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

    30 September 1988 – An Mi-24 attack helicopter was shot down

1989

    2 February 1989 – An Mi-24 assault helicopter was shot down.

ANALYSIS

If they cannot recover wreckage they mark it as “destroyed by PZRK”, PZRK mean manpad SAM, which could be one of four – Soviet Strela, China NH5, Egypt Eye Sakr or American Stinger.

I propose 12 certain kills by Stingers and around ten more possible kills, so ~22 in total. Even if we assume all PZRK kill after 1986 made by Stinger it gives us 31 max.

What the above shows is that upon delivery of the Stinger Missile to the Mujahedin there was an increase in the number of Mi-24’s shot down. In the last four years of the war at least 25 of these gunships were brought down. As you can see this represents half of the total number of Mi-24’s brought down during the war and they were all shot down after the Stinger was delivered to the Mujahedin.

There were a total of 269 Soviet Aircraft losses after September 1986 when the Stinger Missile was first given to the Mujahedin. The Mujahedin gunners claim they were able to score these 269 kills out of 340 engagements, a roughly 70% hit rate while using the Stinger. If this report is accurate, then the Stinger was responsible for over half of the Soviet Aircraft losses during the entire war.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 and after the war, many of the Stingers found their way to other countries. The US had attempted to buy back the Stingers but at least 600 remained unaccounted for.

References:

List of Soviet aircraft losses during the Soviet–Afghan War – Wikipedia

Mil Mi-24 (Hind) Armed Assault Gunship / Attack Helicopter – Soviet Union

FIM-92 Stinger – Wikipedia

‘A fighting war with the main enemy’: How the CIA helped land a mortal blow to the Soviets in Afghanistan 32 years ago

Afghanistan: Kabul Confirms New Effort To Buy Back U.S.-Built Stinger Missiles

Afghanistan

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