Russia has lost 25% of its Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters in the Ukraine war, says the British Ministry of Defense

Russia has lost 25% of its Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters in the Ukraine war, says the British Ministry of Defense

Russia’s Ka-52 helicopter inventory appears to have sustained significant damage in the ongoing conflict. The UK Ministry of Defense’s recent intelligence assessment of the war revealed that Moscow lost more than a quarter of its fleet of Kamov Ka-52 ‘Hokum’ attack helicopters in the ongoing conflict.

Russia’s modified Su-57 Stealth fighter variant with Stage 2 ‘Soars & Roars’ engine on test flight

The UK Ministry of Defense assessment said at least 23 Russian Ka-52 Alligator helicopters have been destroyed or lost since the invasion began on February 24.

This equates to more than 25% of the 90 Ka-52s currently in service with the Russian Air Force and “nearly half of Russia’s total helicopter losses in Ukraine”.

The MOD further said that Ukraine’s man-portable air defense systems had caused considerable damage to Russian attack helicopters (MANPADS).

He went on to say that helicopters frequently operate with less consistent overhead cover from fighter jets than Russian military theory would suggest.

Moscow remains unable to maintain sufficient air superiority to provide effective fixed-wing air cover near the front line while its artillery ammunition runs low.

According to the assessment, Russian commanders are likely to use risky attack helicopter flights more frequently as one of the few remaining options to provide close support to troops involved in the conflict.

Oryx, an independent researcher who analyzes visually verified equipment losses during conflicts, confirm those figures. Since February, 54 Russian helicopters have been lost.

File:Ka-52 at MAKS-2009.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Ka-52 at MAKS-2009 – Wikimedia Commons

There are 23 Ka-52s among the 54. There are also 12 Mi-8 Hip transport helicopters, three Mi-24s, five Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters, six Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopters and five unidentified helicopters missing to date. moment.

Oryx reports that the loss of only 15 Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters during the fighting was confirmed visually. However, these are documented losses, and there may be others that cannot be visually identified.

Since the invasion began in February, videos of the Ka-52 and other downed Russian helicopters have been circulating on social media.

On October 24, the Ukrainian Air Force reclaimed his forces had shot down two additional Ka-52 helicopters. Both aircraft were shot down over the Kherson region.

On October 12, Ukraine alleged that his Air Force anti-aircraft missile units had shot down at least four enemy attack helicopters, most likely Ka-52s. They supported the ground occupation forces in the southern axis south of Ukraine.

Chinese concerns

The latest revelation from the British MOD indicates that these helicopters struggled to get past Ukrainian air defences. China, a longtime major consumer of Russian weapons, would be concerned about how well these helicopters can perform on the battlefield.

In 2021, it was reported that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intends to purchase up to two squadrons (36 units) of the Kamov Ka-52K “Katran” coaxial (or counter-rotor) aircraft.

Beijing plans to use the Ka-52K, a naval variant of the helicopter, from its Type 075 landing helicopter (LHD) dock.

However, the country may find itself in a bind given that it chose the Russian platform over its domestically produced Harbin Z-10 attack helicopter in response to the situation in Ukraine.

The Ka-52K is a naval version of the Ka-52 Alligator and is equipped with a 30mm cannon, air-to-surface missiles, ground-attack rocket pods, and radars with ranges of more than 200 kilometers. It can also carry powerful anti-ship missiles with ranges of more than 100 kilometers.

Russian Ka 52 helicopters
Russian Ka 52 helicopters

This makes it a “multirole” helicopter that can perform reconnaissance and scouting missions, provide target information, monitor the battlefield, and provide close air support like a heavy gunship.

However, the biggest concern is that the sensor technology used in the helicopter has already been shipped to Western countries via Ukraine.

These concerns gained credence when learned that experts from the US and the UK had just finished investigating the wreckage of the Su-35, one of Russia’s most technologically advanced aircraft shot down in Ukraine.

In addition, Ukraine also doubted the operational capabilities of the Su-35, which China bought from Moscow. China signed a US$2 billion deal with Russia in 2015 to buy 24 Su-35s 4.5 generation aircraft.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reclaimed that only nine of the 24 aircraft were found to be operational, indicating the unreliability and low efficiency of the equipment. The main problems are related to the operation of on-board systems.

However, the increasing losses of the Ka-52 helicopter will make it more difficult for Moscow to export this helicopter to other nations.

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