Ukrainian forces shot down two of Russia’s prized Ka-52 “Alligator” attack helicopters early on Thursday morning using Swedish RBS-70 MANPAD, according to Ukraine’s military. This is the fourth attack helicopter downed by the Swedish RBS-70 man-portable air defense system.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said one Ka-52 was downed by Ukraine’s Air Forces in the direction of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region at 6.00 a.m. local time.
Ukraine’s 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade said it downed another Ka-52 helicopter nearly two hours later with an anti-aircraft missile near Robotyne, a village in the Zaporizhzhia region.
The Dutch open-source outlet, Oryx, says that, since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022, Russia has lost at least 332 helicopters, of which 42 Ka-52 were destroyed, 12 were damaged, and 1 was captured.
Meanwhile, figures published by Ukraine’s General Staff on Thursday morning stated that the total number of Russian helicopters destroyed since the war began stands at 314. Independent sources give numbers that are more conservative than Kyiv’s, and Russia does not publish figures on its military losses.
The Ka-52, known as the “Alligator” by Russia and “Hokum-B” by NATO, has been described by military experts as one of Russia’s most capable attack helicopters.
Karolina Hird, a Russia analyst from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), previously told Newsweek that the Russian Ka-52 is “an effective attack helicopter that is generally comparable to the U.S. AH-64 Apache.”
Last month, the British defense ministry described the Ka-52 as “one of the single most influential Russian weapon systems.”
“Russia has highly likely lost around forty Ka-52s since the invasion, but the type has also imposed a heavy cost on Ukraine,” it said in an intelligence update on X, formerly Twitter, on July 27.
The latest reported losses come three months into Ukraine’s counteroffensive to recapture territory seized by Russia throughout the conflict.
The ISW, a U.S.-based think tank, said on Thursday that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 16 and advanced in Zaporizhzhia region and on the Donetsk-Zaporizhia region border, including liberating the village of Urozhaine.
The General Staff said Ukraine’s forces continue to conduct offensive operations in the Bakhmut, Melitopol and Berdyansky directions, and continues to deter Russian troops on the Kupiansk, Lymansk and the northern flange of Bakhmut directions.
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