Amid intense fighting in the east of Ukraine, a Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter, ‘Alligator,’ has reportedly been shot down in the Luhansk region. The act was caught on camera.
The Ukrainian military announced on December 4 that it had shot down a Russian Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter in the eastern Ukrainian district of Luhansk.
According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), the Russian attack helicopter attempted to target Ukraine’s frontline position near Svatove before being targeted and shot down.
“Today, around 2:00 pm, a unit of the Dneprovsk anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Vostok Air Command shot down an enemy Ka-52 helicopter,” the report says. As seen in the footage below, it is the exact moment when a Ukrainian missile hit the Ka-52 attack helicopter above a forest.
Sexy slow motion moment of shooting down Russian Ka-52 yesterday pic.twitter.com/HfanGMwDdc
— Special Kherson Cat ??? (@bayraktar_1love) December 5, 2022
As could be understood from the video, the Russian helicopter was hit by a missile and immediately burst into flames on impact.
After the news emerged on social media, Russia acknowledged that AFU shot down the chopper. The Kremlin-affiliated Telegram group that regularly carries updates on military operations confirmed that the Russian Armed Forces had lost another Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter.
As noted by the Telegram channel, the chopper was being flown by an elite Russian helicopter crew with several military decorations. “The crew was presented with the highest award and the highest rank of the Russian Federation – the Golden Stars of Heroes posthumously,” said the ‘Fighterbomber channel.
An independent Ukrainian news account also said on Twitter, “The crew of Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter, which Ukrainian air defense swatted today, were the most decorated and experienced in the Russian army. They also have performed the biggest number of sorties to kill Ukrainians. Until today.”
The crew of russian KA-52 attack helicopter, which Ukrainian air defense swatted today, were the most decorated and experienced in russian army.
They also have performed the biggest number of sorties to kill Ukrainians.
— Walter Report ?? @firstname.lastname@example.org (@walter_report) December 5, 2022
Military watchers, however, remained conflicted about whether an S-300 surface-to-air missile or a Buk missile shot down the Ka-52. Some other military watchers on social media debated that the weapon used by the air defense brigade could be a MANPAD.
Through the ongoing conflict, the AFU has shot down several of these Ka-52s using short-range, infrared-guided MANPADS. Many Ka-52s have so far been shot down due to the sheer volume of MANPADS fired at them during their deep penetrating flights.
Some pro-Russian accounts on Twitter said that all aircraft venturing into the area are braving significant risk as it is saturated with Ukrainian Air Defense. The incident is important as it comes when Russia has intensified its bombardment of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, triggering calls for air defense support by Kyiv.
Setback For Russia’s Best Attack Chopper
Along with the Su-34 bomber fleet, the Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ is one of Russia’s most commonly employed ground-attack platforms in its military campaign in Ukraine.
The Alligator is regarded as one of the world’s best attack helicopters. The chopper’s popularity was displayed at China’s Air Show 2022, where several visitors showed interest in the Russian combat helicopter.
In mid-November, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video of a Ka-52 and Mi-24 helicopters flying together. A statement attached to the video said that the pilots of Ka-52 and Mi-24 helicopters operate in mixed pairs to increase the strike potential.
The pair has been since destroying Ukrainian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) using guided and unguided projectiles.
The Russian helicopter crew usually relies on a safe tactic to escape the attack from Ukraine’s air defense missiles and MANPADS.
As per their standard practice, Russian helicopters approach a target area at less than 60 meters, pitch up between 15 and 30 degrees, and fire S-8 and S-13 unguided rockets in high ballistic arcs.
This allows the helicopter crew to remain behind the Russian frontlines, where the threat from Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) is somewhat less.
According to a recent study on the Russian Air War in Ukraine performed by the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the strike accuracy using these methods is frequently low. It is employed to drive Ukrainian forces stationed in the open to take cover or fix dug-in units until the impact diminishes.
Besides, on earlier occasions, the Russian helicopters failed to release flares when engaged by MANPADS. Furthermore, the Ka-52’s armor protection falls short of that of other Russian attack helicopters, particularly in the engine compartments, which lack armor plating and are thus vulnerable to damage from even small weapons fire, as previously noted by EurAsian Times.
The Russian military was believed to have roughly 100 Ka-52s before invading Ukraine but is reported to have lost around 27 Alligators.
Despite being overwhelmed by Russia’s missile attacks on its energy infrastructure that have caused widespread difficulties, the Ukrainian air defenses are keeping a tight vigil and taking down hostile targets.
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