The gunship’s crash and continued deployment in Syria is indicative of Russia’s shift apparent in battlefield operations after February’s promised cessation of hostilities.

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A Russian Mi-28 helicopter crashed in Syria on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Its two crew members were killed, and the aircraft was said to have crashed because of technical reasons.

Reports on social media indicated that the helicopter, known in Russia as the Mi-28 Night Hunter and among NATO countries as the Havoc, is an advanced gunship that appears to have first arrived in Syria last November but has only recently been used extensively in combat.

In late March, videos posted online showed the helicopter supporting Syrian army offensive operations in Islamic State group-held Palmyra.

The Mi-28, like the United States’ Apache gunship, was designed in the waning years of the Cold War.

Similar to the Apache, it boasts a 30-mm forward-mounted cannon and a slew of underwing armaments, including guided and unguided missiles and rockets.

The manufacturer’s website, Russian Helicopters, indicates that the Mi-28’s cockpit is reinforced with armor and shock absorbers and is equipped with advanced sensors for day, night and inclement weather conditions.

The Mi-28 can make speeds more than 150 mph and is used by a Russian air acrobatics team.

The gunship’s crash and continued deployment in Syria is indicative of Russia’s shift in battlefield operations after February’s promised cessation of hostilities, according to Dmitry Gorenburg, a senior research scientist in the Strategic Studies division of CNA and an associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

“Rather than conducting large scale airstrikes, the goal now is to provide close air support for the Syrian military as it seeks to gain more territory in ISIS controlled areas,” Gorenburg said in an email.

Before the announcement of the cease-fire, Russian jets carried out numerous sorties a day, some of which targeted the Islamic State group (also known as ISIS), though the majority struck Syrian opposition groups fighting in northern Syria.

Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues despite the announcement of Russia’s withdrawal from Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country’s departure last month after deeming his campaign to prop up the fledgling Syrian military was successful.

Russia’s initial intervention, however, was under the auspices of fighting the Islamic State group.

While some Russian fixed- wing aircraft, including a contingent of Su-25 Frogfoots, have departed Syria, a large number of jets and helicopters remain, including the Mi-28.

In addition, Russia has distributed its helicopters to air bases closer to where the Syrian military is conducting offensive operations — namely around Palmyra.

Satellite imagery released in late March indicates that Russia has roughly a dozen ground-attack helicopters, including multiple Mi-28s, stationed at Al-Shayrat Air Base southeast of the Syrian city of Homs.

Russian helicopters have also been working closely with Russian special-forces soldiers who are helping direct close air support from the ground.