Heavily damaged Iraqi Mi-171 moved at Al Asad

A heavily damaged Mil Mi-171 (NATO reporting name: Hip-H) tactical transport helicopter belonging to the Iraqi Army Air Corps (IqAAC) was moved by US personnel at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq’s Anbar province on July 7.

The tactical transport helicopter was removed from where it had been dumped for some time at the Iraqi air base by US Air Force (USAF) engineers from the Air Expeditionary Squadron working with the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) in the country. The aircraft’s removal had been conducted by US forces following a request for delivery to the Iraq Security Forces.

Iraqi Mi-171 recovered by US forces arrives at Al Asad Air Base 7-7-21 [US Army/Cpl Jacob Gleich]
The unidentified Iraqi Army Air Corps-operated Mi-171 Hip-H arriving at Al Asad Air Base on July 7, 2021, after recovery following an unknown accident. US Army/Cpl Jacob Gleich

Images released by CJTF-OIR show it being prepared for unloading from a flatbed trainer at Al-Asad, suggesting it had only been moved from one part of the base to another, although it is unclear what purpose it will now serve. In the area it was being unloaded at there are also a number of derelict former Iraqi Air Force aircraft visible, including an L-29, MiG-21, MiG-25 and other unidentified hulks.

While there have been no official reports of any recent Iraqi helicopter crashes, it was clear that the Mi-171 in question had been involved in some kind of attrition event, as the main rotor blades and tail boom had all been torn away from the helicopter – rather than just being removed for transport. The undercarriage was also missing and there were signs of damage in other areas. It is believed that the accident probably happened some time ago, as the hulk had already been seen derelict at Al Asad back in May this year and at that time was thought to have already been there for quite a while.

The IqAAC currently operates three different variants of the Hip-H, comprising the Mi-171, Mi-171E and Mi-171Sh. Current data from AirForces Intelligence states that the Iraqi air arm has operated both the Mi-171 and Mi-171E since 2006. The Mi-171Sh entered operational service in 2014. In total, Iraq operates four Mi-171, 29 Mi-171E and 16 Mi-171Sh helicopters. These aircraft are maintained by the IqAAC’s No 4 Squadron; No 15 Special Operations Squadron; No 16 Training Squadron and No 85 Squadron.