Pro-Kremlin bloggers and propagandists on social media shared a video that shows the Russian Kamov Ka-52 “Alligator” attack helicopter flying with its tail torn apart.
Pro-Russian Telegram channels initially reported that the Ka-52 was damaged due to a failure dumping of additional fuel tanks. However, they later changed their version and noted that the attack helicopter was hit by an air defense missile and returned to the airfield despite heavy damage.
At the same time, the military analysts noticed that several fuel tanks can be seen falling away from the Ka-52 right at the start of the video and the helicopter is still armed with anti-tank missiles.
Moreover, the Black Sea coastline visible at the start confirms that the helicopter was damaged before it was in the combat zone and was located near the airfield near occupied Berdiansk.
A photo of the aircraft after landing reveals how that part of the empennage was twisted around to more than 90 degrees, but it has no visual damage typical of an anti-aircraft missile hitting a helicopter.
The in-flight breakup of the Ka-52 attack helicopter was caused by unanticipated severe vibrations as the aircraft attempted to gain the necessary speed and altitude.
It is no secret that Russian Ka-52 helicopters are suffering from a major vibration issue. The real operating experience in the war conditions in Ukraine confirmed that the Ka-52 helicopter is prone to excessive vibrations that lead to mechanical failures and vibration-induced fatigue.
Photos and videos that have appeared on social media show a range of different damage to Ka-52 helicopters caused by excessive body vibration during takeoff or landing. Russian combat helicopters are losing their landing gear fairings, and have cracks in the wings on which the main armament is suspended.
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