Background and featuresThe HP-48 appeared somewhat related to the Soviet Mi-24 Hind but was more closely based off the later Mil Mi-28 Havoc, incorporating features such as the redesigned cockpit, fuselage, intakes, tricycle landing gear and replacing the Yak-B cannon with the new Shipunov 2A42 cannon. Otherwise, it served more or less the same purpose as the Hind, serving both attack and transport roles with its passenger compartment. The HP-48 also featured similar hardpoints as the Hind and was typically equipped with two rocket pods on each as well as two missile launchers.
The HP-48 was first seen used by MSF by the end of 1974, having replaced MSF's Mi-24 fleet of Helicopters. One, piloted by a MSF member callsign "Morpho", was commonly seen assisting Snake between the end of 1974 to MSF's destruction in 1975.
Side-OpsThe HP-48 piloted by "Morpho" assisted Snake during his multiple infiltrations of the United States Naval Prison Facility on the Cuban coast. The helicopter was used by Snake for both extracting enemy personnel and prisoners of war, as well as providing fire support when needed. Prominently, "Morpho" flew Snake into the base in an operation to rescue a MSF Intel Team agent who was escaping capture after being uncovered. He was also responsible for ensuring Snake's evacuation from the base when it became apparent that it was to end up bombarded.
- Main article: Ground Zeroes Incident
On March 16, 1975, the HP-48 piloted by "Morpho" assisted Snake in an operation to recover Sandinista child soldier Chico and Cipher agent Paz Ortega Andrade, from the U.S. Naval Prison Facility in Cuba. For this operation, the helicopter was staffed by an MSF combat medic, who waited in the passenger compartment in order to treat the prisoners once Snake brought them aboard. "Morpho" would ferry Snake, Paz, Chico, and the medic to Mother Base as it was being attacked by XOF. Several other HP-48s were also seen on board Mother Base at the time Snake arrived. "Morpho" proceeded to pick up MSF subcommander Kazuhira Miller as well as an additional MSF soldier before escaping the collapse of Mother Base. However, the HP-48 would crash into the ocean after spinning out of control and colliding with an XOF UTH-66 Blackfoot, due the detonation of a bomb secretly implanted in Paz.
By 1984, the HP-48 had been adopted by the Soviet Army and was prominently used in the Soviet-Afghan War at the time of Venom Snake's awakening. It would also serve as the Attack Helicopter of choice of several Private Forces operating along the Angola-Zaire border. It was used in several operations by both Soviet and PF Forces, and was also used alongside Armored Vehicle Units and Tank Units as well as to guard the locations of prisoners of war and Highly-Skilled Soldiers. The HP-48 could also be deployed to reinforce Soviet and PF forces in the case of a combat alert. Diamond Dogs, however, ceased using it, switching to the UTH-66 Blackfoot as its all purpose helicopter/gunship. Venom Snake also switched to a Blackfoot, utilizing one as his personal airborne command center, with the callsign "Pequod."
A HP-48 was on patrol near Da Smasei Laman when the Soviets were trying to locate the CIA weapon known as the "Honey Bee", after the Hamids were wiped out under mysterious circumstances. In addition, a HP-48 was also part of a sizeable mechanized unit that the Diamond Dogs were tasked to eliminate.
The supposed president of SANR arrived at the Nova Braga Airport to meet up with a CFA official for an inspection. In addition, the leader of Rogue Coyote, the Major, also had a HP-48 prepped up in the event that he needed to evacuate the area due to an attempt at his life. A HP-48 was also tasked by Rogue Coyote and Zero Risk Security to guard the Bampeve Plantation and secure Lufwa Valley's mansion to prevent Code Talker's retrieval by Venom Snake, respectively.
Several HP-48s, as well as Soviet Armor, were commandeered by XOF upon their seizure of OKB Zero in 1984, both being used to guard the base in case of Venom Snake's infiltration as well as in a futile attempt to destroy Metal Gear Sahelanthropus.
During a proxy war, near Nova Braga Airport, a black-colored HP-48 was tasked with delivering the armored column commander to the airport. In addition, an XOF-owned HP-48 was to arrive at Lufwa valley to retrieve research materials made by Code Talker relating to the Vocal cord parasites, although Diamond Dogs intercepted the materials before they could be delivered.
Behind the scenes
The HP-48 Krokodil is the designation of the helicopter that replaced the series-standard Mi-24 helicopter in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. As with most of the equipment in the game, it is not directly based on a real world weapon but rather is a combination of various real world weapons that existed around the time period. Specifically, the HP-48 is a combination of the Mi-24 Hind (nicknamed Крокодил; Krokodil) and the Mi-28 Havoc helicopters, the latter not seeing widespread use until the 1990s.
Despite appearing frequently as an enemy in The Phantom Pain and functioning as the support helicopter in Ground Zeroes, it is not available for use as a helicopter in the former game and the UTH-66 Blackfoot fulfills that role. The E3 2013 trailers did, however, have Snake exiting the HP-48 Krokodil when returning to what was later revealed to be the new Mother Base as well as the Gamescom 2014 demo for FOB events featuring the opposing commander of Roughneck Raven arriving in a Krokodil, implying that it was originally going to be an option in The Phantom Pain.
The HP-48 was also used in the Extra Ops of Ground Zeroes as a prop on the heliport representing the Hind-D from the original Metal Gear Solid in Déjà Vu as well as ferrying Raiden to the Prison Facility and extracting him from it later in Jamais Vu. In the former, the player needs to hide behind an obstruction and have two soldiers present near the aircraft to recreate the scene. Upon doing so, Big Boss will say "Just like old times," alluding to a statement his son Solid Snake made when doing the camera down angle on Shadow Moses Island in Metal Gear Solid 4 (itself a reference to the camera down angle that was frequently used in Metal Gear Solid). The player in both Extra Ops can also freely summon the aircraft to use a light on the Peace Walker logo and, should the player be using the Gray Fox skin in the former, also extract a soldier from a tank the player had earlier blown up.
The HP-48 was referred to as a "Hind-D" in Konami's 12 Days of Metal Gear Christmas countdown. This was before the official name was established in The Phantom Pain.
The opening credits of several missions set in Africa that feature the HP-48 being used by enemy PF's misidentify it as the UTH-66 Blackfoot. This is most likely an oversight, possible from the text being leftover from when the latter helicopter was supposed to appear instead of the HP-48.
The HP-48 Krokodil, aside from being one of the related mission tasks for "Where Do The Bees Sleep?" regarding shooting one down, also appears in a special ending cutscene that plays if the player fails to retrieve the titular Honey Bee weapon, where it is loaded onto the HP-48 by the Soviets and it flying off while Miller could only curse under his breath when Snake witnesses it.