The Myanmar Air Force (MAF) has conducted an escalated campaign of airstrikes in western Rakhine State that, for the first time in the service’s history, has involved sustained combat operations at night.
The close air support (CAS) operations, which reached a high point in mid-March, involved recently inducted Yakovlev Yak-130 ‘Mitten’ advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft, as well as Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’ helicopter gunships, striking suspected positions of the insurgent Arakan Army (AA), according to insurgent and Western intelligence sources.
The AA, which is part of an ethnic Rakhine group seeking federal autonomy, has staged multiple attacks across the northern townships of the state since late 2018.
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