The Ukrainian military downed three of Russia’s “most advanced” combat helicopters on the 11th-month anniversary of the Russian invasion.
In a Facebook post published on January 24, the Ukrainian General Staff asserted that three Ka-52 helicopters had been shot down in the Donetsk region within 30 minutes. Moreover, a Su-25 fighter from the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) was also destroyed.
It said in the note: “Within half an hour on January 24, Ukrainian fighter jets shot down three Russian Ka-52 attack choppers. Airplanes flew missions in and around Yevhenivka (Volnovakha district, Donetsk province ). Defense forces from Ukraine were able to shoot down a Russian Su-25 fighter jet near the town of Bakhmut.”
According to a tweet from the Ukrainian Air Force, anti-aircraft missiles brought down all helicopters in the first hour of January 24.
However, it is unclear from the tweet what type of anti-aircraft missile was utilized to bring down the helicopters. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense tweeted, “Alligators shouldn’t fly,” about Russian helicopters.
It is not the first time the Ukrainian Armed Forces have shot down several Russian helicopters in record time. In October 2022, the Ukrainian armed forces reportedly destroyed four Russian helicopters in 18 minutes in the country’s south.
One of these helicopters was a Ka-52 Alligator that crashed in territory that had, at the time, been recently liberated from Russian control.
Because of the massive air defense system and anti-aircraft missile deployment by the Ukrainian military, Russian planes avoid Ukrainian airspace and fire missiles from a safe distance.
The Ka-52 helicopter, on the other hand, is used for fire support and has been tasked largely with eliminating Ukrainian tanks. Because of this, Kyiv’s anti-aircraft defense threatens the helicopter.
For example, a recent viral video showed a Ka-52 helicopter flying a Ukrainian defensive position near Ugledar. The Alligator has successfully shot down several Ukrainian tanks and military vehicles.
However, several state-of-the-art helicopters are expected to be lost in combat after being hit by advanced MANPADS deployed by AFUs.
Since hostilities began in February of 2022, Ukraine estimates that Russia has lost a total of 281. In December, Oryx, an open-source intelligence tracker, reported that Russia had lost at least 27 Ka-52 jets. With the addition of the three confirmed deaths, the total is thirty, assuming no further deaths have occurred.
A Ka-52 billed as the world’s best attack helicopter costs around $15 million. A Ka-52 Alligator would have been over ten times as expensive as the anti-aircraft missile used to shoot down the Russian helicopter. And in less than an hour, Russia lost $45 million worth of the stuff.
Ka-52 Alligator of the VKS
The Ka-52 is the most modern combat helicopter in Russia, having a ceiling of 18,000 feet and a maximum speed of 186 miles per hour.
Its most notable features include cockpit chairs that sit side by side and ejection seats for the pilot. Its six wing-mounted hardpoints can house more than 4,000 pounds of weaponry, including cannons, rocket launchers, and missiles.
On the right side of the fuselage is a 30mm automatic cannon, and some variants of the helicopter also incorporate a forward-facing infrared (FLIR) camera in the nose.
The Ka-52, commonly known as the “Alligator,” is an all-weather assault helicopter designed to destroy unarmored and armored ground and air targets, ground personnel, and low-speed air targets. In addition, it serves as an air command post and surveillance platform for an assault helicopter squadron.
The Russian Aerospace Forces have extensively used the Ka-52 to fulfill these objectives. It can also destroy enemy infantry and helicopters at tactical depth or on the front lines.
The performance of the Ka-52 in combat, where it incurred losses during the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, strongly contradicts Russia’s claim that it can operate flawlessly in modern combat zones. Ukrainian MANPADS destroyed nearly all of the Ka-52s lost in combat.
It has been stated that the helicopter encounters intense vibrations, resulting in mechanical failure and fatigue caused by vibrations. Images and videos posted online have shown Ka-52 helicopters with various degrees of body vibration damage, usually during takeoff or landing.
In late December, a video showing the Ukrainian army loading the helicopter went viral on social media, leading to speculation that Western engineers were studying it. When the invasion started, it appeared that the Ukrainian defense lost the helicopter.
On February 24, as Russia invaded Ukraine, Ka-52 attack helicopters reportedly seized the Hostomel (Gostomel) airport. Several of these state-of-the-art helicopters have since been deployed and lost in combat.