A NUMBER of images newly-released by the US Department of Defense have revealed that three former Pakistan Army Mi-8MTV-1 helicopters are currently in use as training aids at the US Army’s Hohenfels Training Area in Germany. The photographs, taken on March 12, show one of the helicopters, identified as 58506 (c/n 94512, ex 94512/US Army) from its serial number roughly marked on the nose in small numerals, being lifted onto a flatbed truck as part of a training exercise. Two others, visible behind in one image, cannot be positively identified but are almost certainly 58501 (c/n 93314, ex 04-12343/US Army) and 58505 (c/n 94094). All three have their rear clamshell cargo doors and tail booms removed, with the latter, along with the main roto blades, packed inside the cabin and protruding out of the rear.
These three helicopters are from a batch of five which were airfreighted into Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands on board Il-76TDs during December 2011 and placed in the hangar of Prust Holding, a company which specialises in Mi-8/17 spares and support. All five had been on short-term loan to the Pakistan Army from the US Army but in 2011 they were delivered to Afghanistan, where they then languished out on the ramp at Kabul International Airport and were reportedly due to be scrapped for spares. Instead, they were delivered to Eindhoven and on July 18, 2012, all five were officially taken on charge by the Afghan Special Mission Wing after being purchased by the US Department of Defense using counter-narcotics funds. This appears to have only been a ‘paper’ exercise and they never entered service but remained in the Netherlands.
Soon afterwards, on August 22, 2012, three of them, 58501, 58505 and 58506, departed from Eindhoven on German trucks. By December 2016 they had appeared in storage at the US Army base at Illesheim Army Airfield, Germany. It is unknown when they subsequently moved to Hohenfels. The other two ex-Pakistan Army examples at Eindhoven, 58502 (c/n 202M30, ex 04-20230), 58503 (c/n 95007, ex 97-95007), departed for Poprad, Slovakia, during February 2013.