Kyiv has shot down one of Russia’s prized Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopters using a Swedish-made RBS-70 man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) close to the southern front lines, according to Ukraine’s military.
Soldiers fighting with Ukraine’s 47th Brigade destroyed one of Moscow’s scout-attack helicopters with MANPADS near Robotyne, in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, Ukrainian commander Brig. Gen. Alexander Tarnavsky, of the Tavria operational-strategic grouping of forces, wrote on Telegram Monday.
In an update posted to social media on Tuesday morning, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said a Ka-52 helicopter had been downed in the past 24 hours, without specifying additional details.
Ukraine frequently publicizes reports of the Ka-52 “Alligators” being shot down by Kyiv forces. The Ka-52, designed to target tanks, enemy military vehicles, manpower and helicopters, has a maximum speed of up to 186 miles per hour, according to Russian state military exporter, Rosoboronexport.
According to Ukraine’s military, Russia has lost 312 helicopters since the start of all-out war in February 2022. Open-source intelligence outlet Oryx has visually confirmed the downing of 39 Ka-52s and a total of 100 Russian helicopters.
In late July, the British Defense Ministry said the Kremlin’s fighters had likely lost around 40 of the Ka-52s in Ukraine, but that the helicopters have “imposed a heavy cost on Ukraine.” Russia said on Monday that Ukraine had lost 245 helicopters in the past year and a half. Newsweek could not independently verify these figures.
The Ka-52 is “one of the single most influential Russian weapon systems” in the Zaporizhzhia region, the U.K. defense ministry said in an intelligence update.
The U.K. government also said Moscow was deploying “brand new,” upgraded variants of the Ka-52 in southern Ukraine.
“In recent months, Russia has highly likely augmented the force in the south with at least a small number of brand new, Ka-52M variants: a heavily modified aircraft, informed by lessons from Russia’s experience in Syria,” the British Defense Ministry added.
Southern Ukraine, along with territory in the east of the country, has been the focus of Kyiv’s summer counteroffensive, now in its third month.
The Ukrainian village of Robotyne is close to the southern front line in Ukraine’s annexed Zaporizhzhia region, around 9 miles south of the city of Orikiv.
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