Ukraine says it downed 2 Ka-52 attack helicopters, which Russia calls the world’s best, in a single morning

A Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter during testing in Russia’s Rostov region in January 2022.

REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

Ukraine said it shot down two Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters on Thursday morning.
The advanced helicopters have given Russian forces an advantage in its invasion, UK intel said.
But Ukraine is striking back against them, with one tracking group saying 40 have been taken down.

Ukraine said it shot down two advanced Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters in a single morning this week.

Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade posted on Facebook that soldiers destroyed a Ka-52 at around 7:40 a.m. on Thursday using a portable air-defense missile system near Robotyne, a village in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region.

This followed an update from the commander of Ukraine’s air force, Mykola Oleshchuk, who said on Telegram that a Ka-52 was destroyed that same morning near Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donetsk region.

The Ka-52, known as the “Alligator” by Russia and “Hokum-B” by NATO, has been described by the Kremlin as the “world’s best helicopter gunship,” Kyiv Post reported.

The UK Ministry of Defence said in July that the helicopter had given Russian forces a strong advantage in Ukraine.

It described them as “one of the single most influential Russian weapon systems” in the Zaporizhzhia region, one of the main sites of Ukraine’s counteroffensive efforts.

It also said they have “imposed a heavy cost on Ukraine,” and that Russia has likely started using heavily modified versions equipped with long-range anti-tank missiles that can get past Ukraine’s air defenses.

But Ukraine has been fighting back: Independent weapons monitoring group Oryx said 40 Ka-52  helicopters have been confirmed as damaged or destroyed through visual evidence. That figure does not include the two announcements on Thursday.

The group added that in total 88 Russian helicopters have been confirmed as destroyed in Ukraine, with 12 more damaged and one captured.

Insider reported in November 2022 that Ka-52s have been used more than any other attack helicopter by Russia in its full-scale invasion, which began in February 2022.

Each helicopter costs upwards of $16 million, Insider’s Rebecca Rommen reported.

Nico Lange, a Ukraine expert at the Munich Security Conference, told The Economist that Ka-52 attack helicopters are being picked off “piece by piece” by Ukrainian forces, in a sign that Ukraine is now making progress in its counteroffensive efforts.

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