For more than ten days, combat for the recovery of the city of Tikrit in the hands of the Islamic State since June 2014 are intense. Iraqi forces managed to enter the Qadisiyah district on Wednesday 11. The Iraqi Air Force and the Iraqi Army Aviation were engaged from the beginning of the battle. Despite the heavy presence of IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) on the ground in the recent operations in Iraq, nor IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force), IRGC-ASF ( Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp's Aerospace Force) and IRIAA (Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation) hadn't any presence in the air. IQAF (Iraqi Air Force) have played very effective role with its own Su-25s and its own pilots whom a second group, ended its gunnery training sessions in Russia just three months ago. Also, Iraqi Army Aviation had a very important role during these operations. Actually, three Mi-35M (35th Attack Squadron), five Eurocopter EC-635 (55th Attack Squadron), five Bell IA-407 (21st Armed Reco Squadron), three UH-1H (2nd Utillity Squadron) and six Mi-17v5/Mi-171 (15th Special Operations Squadron) are used for attacks and reco missions. Mi-35 are intensively involved for night attacks. According to Iraqi sources, Iraqi Army Aviation airstrikes destroyed a six vehicle convoy on al-'Alam-Albu Ajeel road (East of Tikrit) on March, 4. The day after, three armoured vehicles and two explosives-laden oil tankers were hit in al-'Alam town. On March, 10, Iraqi Army Aviation struck two car bombs and two oil tanker bombs in central Tikrit.
These photos below shows two Eurocopter EC-635 (YI-274, YI-275) together with two Bell IA-407 (YI-131, YI- ???) and one Mi-35M in those improvised helicopter base near Samarra. These helicopters are currently supporting operations on Tikrit. One of the two EC-635 may be the Eurocopter seen in the video published on Tuesday on this blog.
Special thanks to Green Lemon for these pictures
Bell IA-407 and Eurocopter EC-635 (YI-275)
Mi-35M on the background and Eurocopter EC-635 (YI-275)
Bell IA-407 (YI-131) and Eurocopter EC-635 (YI-274)
Update March 15th, 2015
Video of Iraqi TV channel Al Hurra showing the same helicopters in previous photos in action
Extract video from Iraqi channel showing Mi-35M (YI-361) on taking off during Tikrit combat