The Ukrainian Armed Forces have shown their extraordinary capability to down Russian air assets ever since Vladimir Putin ordered his military invasion and Kyiv’s soldiers just reached another major milestone according to a recent update from the General Staff.
On June 12th, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces noted in its daily update on Russian war losses that the total count of helicopters Moscow has lost reached 300.
“Our soldiers destroyed one more Ka-52 expensive enemy assault helicopter, known as the Alligator,” the military said according to a translation from The New Voice of Ukraine.
The General Staff update did not reveal whether the 300th Russian helicopter downed was taken out in the field or by Ukraine’s air defenses, though it is safe to assume that the Ka-52 Alligator was more than likely taken out during the ongoing counter-offensive.
The Russian-made Kamov Ka-52 Alligator is an upgraded version of the original Ka-50 Soviet era single-seat attack helicopter according to Military Factory, and one of the big differences between the two aircraft is the makeup of the Ka-52’s seating configuration.
The Ka-52 was designed to be a dual-seat helicopter with a side-by-side cockpit layout and added a whole new radar suite as well as a new designation. But that did not really change the function of the helicopter, the Military Factory wrote in a review of the aircraft.
Russia bills the Ka-52 as an “armed reconnaissance and combat platform” that has the ability to take on a multitude of battlefield roles according to Military Factory which noted the helicopter can fly close air support, convoy protection duties, and armed patrolling.
Interestingly, the helicopter can support all-weather fighting and can fly in both day and night environments, which makes it a very dangerous weapon on Ukraine’s battlefields.
The Ka-52 is equipped with a wide variety of offensive weapons, including a powerful 30mm 2A42-1 cannon as well as Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and rockets according to Military Factory, all of which can be used to great effect when performing combat duties.
Onboard countermeasures include reduced signature features and flare dispensers, as well as enhanced armoring around the Ka-52s crew and critical systems—this improves the Ka-52’s battlefield survivability according to Military Factory.
The cockpit configuration of the helicopter allows for either pilot to manage flight controls and aircrews have shock-absorbing K-37-800M ejection seats, allowing them to survive dangerous situations.
The update from Ukraine’s General Staff did not say whether or not either of the pilots from the downed Ka-52 on June 12th ejected from the helicopter nor if they survived.
In October 2022, the British Ministry of Defense noted in its daily Ukraine war updates that the Russian Air Force had lost 25% of its fleet of 90 Ka-52 helicopters, which also represented half of Moscow’s total helicopter losses at the time the update was posted.
The British intelligence update also wrote that Russian helicopters were vulnerable to attack from Ukraine’s man-portable defense systems, a situation made worse by a lack of “top-cover from combat jets” usually expected from Russia’s military doctrine.
According to the open-source Dutch intelligence firm Oryx, which tracks verifiable losses from both sides of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has lost 45 Ka-52 Alligators since the invasion began—which would represent 45% of Russia’s total fleet of 90.
As of June 14th, Ukrainian forces had also downed or destroyed at least 345 warplanes of various model, including Su-35, Su-30SM, Su-24, Su-25, MiG-31K and Su-34M. According to the update from the country’s General Staff, the total losses of Russian drones and unmanned aerial vehicles at a stunning 614 systems. Russia lost at least 25 transport aircraft and one A-50 airborne early warning aircraft. Russian aerospace forces total losses account 1,285 airborne assets.
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