These are the Russian KA-52 Alligator combat helicopters, Putin's jewel, which are dropping like flies in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Army claims to have shot down a Russian KA-52 Alligator attack helicopter, one of the jewels of Moscow's armed forces. Thus, the 47th Ukrainian Mechanized Brigade would have destroyed one of these devices near the city of Avdiivka, in eastern Ukraine, a strongly disputed area. Russia has controlled the city since February 2024, after months of fierce fighting, but Ukraine has not given up its efforts to recover the enclave and the fighting is fierce between both armies. In fact, the battles that have been taking place to the west of the city have produced a high number of victims and significant losses of equipment.

“New week: new Russian planes destroyed,” kyiv said Monday in a tweet on the X social network.

Beyond the symbolic value of the demolition, These attacks also cause strong economic damage to Russia, since we must not forget that each Ka-52 is worth around 16 million dollars.according to the Ukrainian government, whose armed forces have repeatedly attacked these Ka-52 helicopters, designed to attack tanks, military vehicles, helicopters and ground forces.

Developed by Rosoboronexport JSC (part of the Russian conglomerate Rostec State Corporation), the Kamov Ka-52 Alligator, which entered service with the Russian Armed Forces in 2011, is considered one of the best reconnaissance and combat helicopters in the world. New generation, it is designed to coordinate battle management and target acquisition for other helicopters for air-to-air, air-to-surface, reconnaissance and radio jamming missions.

It is a development based on the single-seat Ka-50, to accommodate two occupants sitting next to each other.. After almost a decade in the development centers of the Russian manufacturer Kamov, it began to be mass produced in 2008. It is somewhat longer than the single-seat Ka-50 but they basically share 85% of the parts.

KA-52A. CruzThe reason

It stands out above all, and that is where you can see that it is a state-of-the-art device, due to its Updated flight deck with displays, head-up display (HUD), helmet visor and integrated attack system. It also has ejector seats.

The Ka-52 entered service in 2011 with the first operational units in the Russian Federation. 2 experimental and 24 serial Ka-52s were ordered for delivery until 2012. A second contract was signed in 2011 to purchase 146 Ka-52 helicopters until 2020. In 2018, interest was expressed in purchasing an additional 114 Ka-52s within the new State Armament Program 2018-2027. The Russian Air Force is believed to be operating about 200 Ka-52 helicopters in 2020.

It can reach a maximum altitude of 5,500 meters with a cruising speed of 260 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 300. It also achieves a climb rate of 12 meters per second and a range of 460 kilometers.

The Alligator, as it is known, also It has a wide assortment of attack weapons led by a 30-millimeter 2A42 mobile cannon with 240 rounds of armor-piercing and fragmentation ammunition. In addition, it has 6 external anchors located under the small wings where it can carry more weapons, such as Vikhr and Ataka laser-guided anti-tank missiles, B8V-20 launchers for S-8 rockets and Igla-V type air-to-air missiles guided by infrared.

Some variants have a nose-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera.

In 2020 it was made public that work was being done on the Ka-52M version, a modernization that improves various operational and weapons capabilities. Development work on the necessary modernization of the Ka-52 took into account the Russian experience in Syria.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has also developed a naval version called Ka-52K Katran, chosen as the new embarked attack helicopter of the Russian Naval Aviation. Its features included folding rotor blades, folding wings and naval support systems, special anti-corrosion treatment and new radar to operate with anti-ship missiles. The first of the four Ka-52Ks flew in March 2015.

The Ka-52 is available in several variants and is constantly updated with new cameras, electronic components and cockpit and helmet configurations to work with night vision.

Ka-52 in the Ukrainian war

However, despite all the Russian propaganda, the performance of the Ka-52 on the battlefield does not seem to be optimal and, in fact, this would not be the first loss of a device of this type. Thus, in the early stages of the Russian invasion, the Ka-52 attempted to seize Hostomel airfield, but the Russians eventually withdrew and the attack inflicted an early and devastating setback on Russia's elite VDV parachute corps.

Thus, on the morning of February 24, about thirty Russian helicopters arrived at the Antonov airport, in Hostomel, to take it over and try to create an air bridge in which troops and equipment could meet less than 10 kilometers from kyiv. The Russian aircraft, Mi-8, transported hundreds of members of the airborne troops escorted by Ka-52 attack helicopters.

Flying low, they arrived at the airport from the Dnieper River, but were immediately attacked by small arms fire and man-portable surface-to-air missile launchers (MANPADS). Russian helicopters responded by launching flares. In the crossfire several Mi-8s were damaged or shot down, some of them even falling into the water, and at least one Ka-52 was also shot down. The invasion did not start well for the Russian airborne troops.

Once disembarked, the units began to take the airport, but a Ukrainian counteroffensive by the National Guard's 4th Quick Reaction Brigade prevented them from securing the facility in its entirety. Lacking armored vehicles, Russian soldiers relied on air support, which they received from two Su-25s.

Ukrainian fighter jets that survived the first Russian missile attacks were involved in providing air support to National Guard units. After surrounding the airport, the Ukrainians expelled the Russian forces at night, forcing the surviving paratroopers to retreat to the forests near the airport. Later, the 4th Rapid Reaction Brigade posted on its Facebook page an image of its soldiers celebrating the victory, while holding a Ukrainian flag riddled with bullet holes.

Although the next day Russian troops took control of the airport with Russian reinforcements from Belarus, Kyiv's withdrawal put an end to the operation.

According to Orys, a web portal that works with open source data and visual evidence that monitors and analyzes existing information, Russia has lost about 25 Ka-52 attack helicopters in Ukraine.

The way the Ka-52 operates is usually always the same: the helicopters approach the target area at a height of less than 60 meters and then tilt between 15 and 30 degrees and fire unguided S-8 and S rockets. -13 on high ballistic arcsallowing the helicopter crew to remain behind their own lines, where the threat from man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) is somewhat lower.

The bad thing about this tactic is that the attacks are less precise and, despite Russian propaganda that shows their devices successfully destroying enemy armor, and many times it is enough for the Ukrainians to take cover or leave their units entrenched until Helicopters are leaving, according to a recent study on the Russian air war in Ukraine by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

In Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions, especially Donbas, Ka-52s and Mi-24s regularly carry out such attacks at night. to keep Ukrainian troops awake.

The Russian Air Forces assign the Ka-52 to support Russian special operations forces, Especially at night. The high level of training of its crews has made their presence indispensable for Russian military planners, especially in the first weeks of the invasion. However, the deep penetration attacks took heavy losses for the Ka-52 fleet.

The Ukrainians shot down several of these Ka-52s using short-range, infrared-guided MANPADS. Although Russian combat aircraft platform defensive aid suites, comprising missile approach warning sensors and countermeasure delivery systems, have been reasonably effective throughout the war, the number of MANPADS in the hands of the Ukrainians was too high to counter them all.

Additionally, Ukrainian forces would have used the British Starstreak and the American Javelin anti-tank missile (used in direct attack mode), which were especially effective against all Russian helicopters, as they are immune to being fooled by flares or chaff countermeasures. used to disrupt and divert radar-guided missiles from their targets.