‘Jumping From Alligator’s Mouth’: Russian Pilots Eject From KA-52 Chopper Using ‘World’s 1st Helicopter Ejection Mechanism’

In a dramatic video that has gone viral on social media, a Russian Ka-52 Alligator aircraft is shown being struck by what seems to be a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile. The helicopter crew then appeared to be ejecting owing to the world’s first helicopter ejection mechanism. 

The video first appeared on the internet on March 20. Smoke plumes can be seen in the footage immediately after the pilot and co-pilot attempted to eject from the helicopter.

Nevertheless, the footage cuts off before the successful ejection can be viewed entirely. There is currently no clear information available about the status of the helicopter’s pilots. The location and time of shooting the video are still unknown. 

The Ukrainian military has deployed several air defense systems and anti-air missiles, forcing Russian aircraft to generally stay outside Ukrainian airspace and launch missiles from a standoff distance. 

The Ka-52 chopper offers fire support and is primarily tasked with striking Ukrainian tanks. As a result, the helicopter is at risk of being gunned down by Kyiv’s air defense. 

For instance, a previously viral video showed a Ka-52 helicopter striking the Ukrainian military positions close to Ugledar. The Alligator destroyed many Ukrainian tanks and military vehicles.

But, a few of these modern helicopters have been destroyed in battle after being struck by sophisticated MANPADS deployed by the Ukrainian armed forces. 

The price of a single Ka-52, considered one of the best attack helicopters in the world, is about $15 million. However, the anti-aircraft missile used to shoot down the Russian helicopter would have been much less expensive than a single Ka-52 Alligator. 

Ka-52 Alligators Of The VKS

The Ka-52 Alligator is the most regularly used ground-attack platform in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since its introduction, this helicopter has been billed as among the best assault chopper in the world.

The Alligator is even regarded as superior to the US Apache since it has anti-ship missiles with a longer range. The Alligator, according to Russia, outperforms other Russian gunship helicopters like the Mi-24/35 Hind and Mi-28 Havok in terms of optics, night vision technology, and precision missiles.

However, several of these advanced helicopters have been lost in battle after their deployment in Ukraine.

The Ka-52 is capable of achieving a top speed of 186 mph and a ceiling of 18,000 feet. The side-by-side cockpit seating arrangements and the pilot ejection seats are among its most distinctive features.

The right side of the fuselage has a 30mm auto-cannon, and some helicopter variants additionally have a nose-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera. 

Other notable advantages of the Alligator are its excellent efficiency in mountainous terrain and over water, low susceptibility to wind impacts, high combat survivability, and open avionics design, which enables the operator to add the equipment of their preference.

The Ka-52 attack helicopter was designed to obliterate infantry, unarmored and armored, and low-speed aerial targets. The helicopter can destroy enemy soldiers and helicopters at the tactical depth or front lines.

Yet, the Ka-52’s operational effectiveness in Ukraine, where it suffered significant losses, directly refutes Russia’s claims that it can operate efficiently in modern warfare environments. 

According to earlier reports, the helicopter experiences strong vibrations, which lead to mechanical failures. Later in December, a video of the Ukrainian military loading an abandoned Alligator went viral on social media, sparking concerns that Western engineers might be keen on decoding the Russian helicopter. 

Ka 52 russian helicopters
File Image: Ka-52 helicopters

The Oryx, a team of experts tracking the destroyed weapons in the conflict in Ukraine using visual evidence, noted that Russia has so far lost 33 Ka-52 assault helicopters in its battle with Ukraine. 

The Ka-52, designed for nighttime missions, has a terrain-following radar and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera under the rotorcraft’s nose. 

The attack helicopter has cutting-edge avionics and self-protection systems like flare dispensers and large exhaust diffusers on the wing tips.

The co-axial rotor of the helicopter eliminates the requirement for a counter-tail rotor unit, similar to the Defiant X, to be employed by the US Air Force. The helicopter’s Klimov VK-2500 series turboshaft engines enable it to operate in both hot and cold climates, and its top speed is 186 miles (300 km) per hour.