Recent social media posts have revealed the presence of Polish Mi-24 attack helicopters en route to Ukraine. Various images and videos depict these helicopters being transported on tractor-trailers along Poland’s highways. While the exact number of Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters sent to Ukraine remains undisclosed, initial estimates suggest it is fewer than twelve units. Currently, the Polish Armed Forces possess approximately 28 Mi-24 attack helicopters, operating in both D and B configurations. However, plans are underway to replace these aircraft with Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
A few years ago, the acquisition of Kruk attack helicopters was defined as one of the modernization priorities for the Polish military. The Mi-24 helicopters currently in use by the Polish military lack guided missiles and are equipped only with post-Soviet unguided missiles and gun pods, as well as a .50-caliber machine gun mounted in the nose turret. This limits their effectiveness in combating main battle tanks. Poland has modified its Kruk attack helicopter program, with several key decisions yet to be made before selecting a manufacturer to produce new aircraft.
The Mil Mi-24, known as the “Hind” in NATO reporting, is a large helicopter gunship, attack helicopter, and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers. It is produced by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and was introduced by the Soviet Air Force in 1972. Currently, the helicopter is used by 58 countries. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, both Ukraine and Russia deployed Mi-24 helicopters. On April 1, 2022, two Ukrainian Mi-24s reportedly entered Russia and attacked an oil storage facility in Belgorod. In May 2022, the Czech Republic donated Mi-24 helicopters to Ukraine.
The Government of Poland has announced the selection of Boeing’s AH-64 Apache for its KRUK Attack Helicopter program. This choice strengthens US-Polish military ties by enhancing interoperability and cooperation between Poland, the US Army, and NATO nations. The Polish Ministry of Defence has revealed its intention to procure a total of 96 AH-64E Guardian V6 Apache attack helicopters for the KRUK program. The Boeing AH-64E V6 Apache (Version 6) represents the most modern configuration of the Apache attack helicopter and is well-suited for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) on the battlefield.