A Russian military helicopter has crashed outside the capital Moscow, killing all of its crew, according to local media reports.
“A Mi-8 helicopter of the Russian aerospace that was on a training flight crash landed 20 kilometers of the settlement of Klin, Moscow region, in a desolate location at about 20:00 Moscow time on May 19. The crew died of injuries,” the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday in a statement published by the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.
“According to preliminary data, the crash might have been caused by a technical failure,” it said, noting no broadside munitions were on board.
The Mi-8, originally produced by the Soviet Union, is one of the world’s most-produced helicopters and has been used in the fleets of dozens of countries, including the United States. Most often employed as a transport aircraft, the Mi-8 also has several armed variants used in combat roles.
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The frequently-used Mi-8 family of helicopters has been involved in a number of high-profile incidents in more than five decades of service. These include events that have been attributed to pilot error, faulty equipment, severe weather conditions and hostile fire.
Models of the helicopter were recently featured alongside other rotary and fixed-wing aircraft as part of Russia’s Victory Day parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. They’ve also been used in multiple training exercises in recent days, including fire extinguishing drills in the Sverdlovsk region and sabotage exercises in the North Caucasus on Tuesday, poor weather training Monday in the Pskov region and combat piloting under different conditions Friday at Russia’s military base in Tajikistan.
With more than 1,500 helicopters, the Russian military has the second-largest rotorcraft fleet in the world, second only to the United States, which has moe than 5,700, according to Global Firepower’s 2020 report.