‘Flaming Jack-O’ Lantern’ – Ukraine ‘Blows Away’ Russian Mi-8 Helicopter In A Stunning Video From Donetsk

A video showing a Russian helicopter being knocked out by a Ukrainian missile has gone viral on social media. The helicopter is believed to be a Mi-8, reportedly downed in the Donetsk region.   

Ukrainian troops reportedly used a portable missile system to shoot down the chopper. The Mi-8 can be seen flying pretty low in the video, possibly to evade anti-aircraft missiles.

The missile struck the chopper after being spotted by Ukrainian forces. The Mi-8 burst into flames and eventually crashed to the ground. The status of the pilots is currently unknown.

The Ukrainian MOD also shared the video on Twitter, saying, “a short video tutorial from #UAarmy on how to turn a Russian Mi-8 into a flaming jack-o’-lantern.”

The open source later discovered the helicopter crash site via coordinates. The military helicopter was blown out of the sky near the village of Spirne in the Donetsk region.

Mike Yeo, a defense expert specializing in Asian air power, said that the helicopter geolocated to a location in Donetsk that was just within Russian lines, with missiles coming from the direction of Ukrainian lines.

Helo (helicopter) seems to have a round nose less common (but not non-existent) with the Russian military,” Yeo said.” The helicopter turned east deeper into Russian territory following the hit. Puzzling that pilots were flying straight and level at relatively high altitude so near the frontline, and the Mi-8’s fate showed why it was a bad idea,” Yeo added.

The verified location where the enemy’s Mi-8 helicopter was destroyed: Twitter

Many Twitter users also alleged that the aircraft could be an ex-Belarusian chopper.

However, Yeo pointed out, “if you look at the tail boom, you can see painted-over markings too, which do not correspond to those from Belarus.”

The green paint on the tail boom looks to have been used to paint over the RF number and” “ВКС Росси́” markings, while many Russian military Mi-8s do have Bort numbers on their inlets. This should be an ex-VKS Mi-8″, Yeo noted.

The craft is adorned with stars on both sides, suggesting that it may somehow be related to the Russian military. 

Separately, the Ukrainian Air Force, on October 31, claimed that two Russian attack helicopters, most likely Ka-52s, were taken down in the Kherson region. The Ukrainian military is presently waging a counteroffensive in the Kherson region. 

File Image: Javelin

Mike Yeo argued that the Russians made a deadly mistake here by trolling around straight and the level above the tree top level within the Line of sight (LOS) and range of the adversary. “It’s emblematic of the Russian military during the invasion of Ukraine,” Yeo added. 

Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army Major General, likewise cited the “poor tactical flying” of the Russian forces. He also questioned whether rotary-wing (RW) aircraft would survive in modern and future battlefields.

Ryan opined that it is time to reevaluate the capability of rotary-wing aircraft to perform some battlefield roles efficiently. Yeo concurred and stated that it was time to reassess helicopter activities at the front. 

A Russian Mil-Mi-8 : Wikipedia

Ryan pointed out, “These platforms have many easily detectable signatures, particularly noise and the signature of their blades. They are slow-moving. And some of them carry a lot of humans.”

Further, he wondered if RW aircraft could still survive in a setting where ground-based air, missile, and drone defense would see an increase in funding. 

Ryan explained, “this is less about the end of helicopters on the battlefield than an evolution in their roles. Maybe the future of RW is for crewed aircraft further from the FEBA and a Lo-hi mix of crewed/uncrewed aircraft in recon, strike, and close support roles.”

But besides this, the Mi-8 helicopter is critical to the Russian military’s transport and supply missions in the ongoing conflict.

The Mi-8 is a modern multi-purpose helicopter in civil and civil-military transport configurations. It can transport troops and cargo within the cockpit and on external suspension. 

Military versions of the Mi-8 are outfitted with an active protection system, steel armor plates, a decoy automatic ejection mechanism, an EW jammer, and fuel tanks. It can carry the same armaments as the Mi-2 and crew armor protection. Furthermore, the Mi-8 can be configured to operate at night.

The helicopter can carry two 7.62mm machine guns in the fore and aft mounts and two 12.7mm machine guns. The helicopter can deploy up to two 23mm GSh-23L guided gun canisters, two blocks of S-8 unguided missiles, a Sturm-B or Ataka ATGM (up to eight rockets), or four 4250kg gravity bombs.