Uganda acquires Mi-28 attack helicopters


The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) appears to be a new operator of the Mil Mi-28 attack helicopter, which has been spotted for the first time in UPDF markings.

Three Mi-28s were seen at Entebbe Air Base on 15 June during a visit by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who was there to thank members of the Air Force for their assistance in neutralising ADF rebels during Operation Shujaa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Our Air Force can do many things easily. This is a capacity we should enhance,” Museveni, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the UPDF, said in his address.

“You have done a good job in operation Shujaa. Aircraft hit targets quickly, accurately, in surprise attacks and quite devastatingly. The artillery and infantry were all doing great. Let me take this opportunity to thank you and to encourage you all,” he said.

It is not clear how many Mi-28s have been acquired by Uganda, or when they were delivered. The fact that several European officials were present with the helicopters this week indicates delivery may have just occurred. It has been speculated that six aircraft have been ordered.

The Mi-28 first flew in November 1982 as a replacement for the Mi-24/25. The Mi-28N Night Hunter day/night version flew in November 1996 and features a radar mounted on the rotor mast. The Mi-28N is armed with up to 16 Shturm and Ataka anti-tank missiles. Shturm is a short-range, radio command-guided missile while the Ataka missile’s guidance is by narrow radar beam. Maximum range of the missile is 8 km. The helicopter can also carry 80mm or 122mm rockets and gun pods. The helicopter is equipped with a turreted 30mm cannon.

Other Mi-28 operators include Algeria, Iraq, and Russia.

The UPDF has about a dozen Mi-24/35 attack helicopters in service along with several Mi-8/Mi-17s, several AB 206 Jet Rangers, half a dozen Bell 205s, and a couple of Bell 212 helicopters. Five refurbished Huey II helicopters were delivered from 2017.

In January this year Museveni commissioned a helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility, which is refurbishing UPDF Mi-24 helicopters. The facility at Nakosongola Air Base is a joint venture by the UPDF’s commercial arm, the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), and Pro-heli International, a Russian company.