Ukrainians Destroyed About Half of Russia's Powerful Ka-52 Helicopter Fleet

The Russian Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter is a formidable weapon capable of inflicting considerable damage. According to various estimates, before the full-scale invasion, the Russian Aerospace Forces had between 140 and 160 “Alligator” combat helicopters. Several more units were produced during the war. During the war, the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed or damaged about half of this equipment.

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Text: Oleksandr Shulman, graph: Nadia Kelm, Nataliia Romanyshyn

Successful October

October 17, 2023, was particularly successful. According to the ORYX initiative, which tracks military losses, fifteen Ka-52 combat helicopters and nine Mi-8 multipurpose helicopters were hit at airfields near Berdiansk and Luhansk that day. Analysts identified seven Ka-52s and two Mi-8s as completely destroyed. Then, the missiles provided by the allies arrived at the airfields.


Data on the graph are from Wikipedia

The graph shows that almost two months have passed since this successful attack without any losses of such vehicles. This means that the Russians either did not use them or used them minimally.

The beginning

We also see that we destroyed many helicopters at the beginning of the war.

The Ka-52s attacked the airport in Hostomel, which the National Guard of the 4th Brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine defended.

The first Ka-52 was shot down by a missile from an SAM system "Igla" , piloted by junior lieutenant Serhiy Falatyuk, and the helicopter burned to the ground. Another one was damaged by fire from a ZU-23M automatic anti-aircraft gun. Another Ka-52 was brought down over the Kyiv Sea. In total, our military shot down six Russian helicopters of various brands that day.

Total losses

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the Russians have lost about 80 Ka-52 helicopters throughout the war, but accurate information is currently unavailable.

According to one of the Ukrainian Armed Forces officers, "If you see black smoke stretching behind a Ka-52, it does not mean that it has been destroyed. It may land somewhere in the occupied territory, and then it will be repaired. Its blades may be damaged, but the helicopter itself will remain almost intact. And after a simple repair, it will fly again. Even the Russian Ministry of Defense does not always have complete statistics because not all damages are reported to the top. In addition, the Russians hide their losses from us. But in general, I think we have finally landed about half of the "Alligators"."

Why is it a formidable machine?

Russian propaganda praised these helicopters highly. They are "all-weather," armored, and armed with everything possible.

So, what can the Ka-52 (Hokum B according to NATO classification, also known as the "Alligator") do?

It can be used as a command and control aircraft for army aviation. It is capable of conducting radio reconnaissance of the area, targeting and coordinating the actions of a group of combat helicopters.

It is designed to engage armored and unarmored vehicles, manpower, and air targets on the battlefield.

It is a continuation of the development of the Ka-50 Black Shark model. In the 1990s, this machine distinguished itself in Chechnya, and pilots were satisfied with its combat performance. The Ka-52 is essentially the next iteration of the Black Shark.

It has a crew of two pilots. It is armed with a mobile gun mount, a 30 mm automatic cannon, 460-round ammunition, and a Vikhr anti-tank missile system with a laser beam guidance system. It is also capable of carrying bombs, gun containers, and other weapons with a total weight of up to 2000 kg. Additionally, the Ka-52 can carry R-73 and Igla-V air-to-air short-range guided missiles, as well as unguided air-to-ground missiles.

The Ka-52 is equipped with the "Arbalet" radar system. It has an armored capsule for the crew. The capsule can be ejected from 0 to 4100 meters. Either pilot can perform fire and control (including simultaneous).

Crew: 2 pilots

Maximum takeoff weight: 10,800 kg

Cruising speed: 250 km/h

Maximum speed in horizontal flight: 310 km/h

Maximum speed: 350 km/h

Practical range: 520 km

Race range: 1200 km

Static ceiling: 3600 м

Dynamic ceiling: 5500 м

The first combat use of the Ka-52 was in Syria, where the Russians lost several aircraft.

The Ukrainian military's first encounter with Ka-52s occurred on November 25, 2018, when our small armored artillery boats "Berdiansk" and "Nikopol" and the raid tug "Yany Kapu" were captured in the Azov Strait. They were making a planned crossing from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.

At night, the occupiers attacked our boats near the Crimean Bridge, which they had to cross to get to Mariupol.

The boats were hit by fire and could not continue moving independently. As a result, at about 20:50 Kyiv time, they were captured by Federal Security Service special forces.

According to official Russian data, Ka-52 helicopters were involved in the attack on the Ukrainian boats. One of them fired two unguided missiles at the Ukrainian ships. In addition to the helicopters, a Su-30 fighter jet was involved in the air attack.

This article was originally written in Ukrainian. It has been translated into English using AI tools such as DeepL, ChatGPT, and Grammarly. If you encounter an error that requires immediate attention, please inform us via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Your understanding and support are appreciated.

air defense russo-ukrainian war eng Ka-52 helicopter aircraft

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