Attack helicopters are giving Russia the edge in the skies over southern Ukraine, says UK intel

  • The UK Ministry of Defence said Russia's attack helicopters gave Putin's forces "a temporary advantage."

  • The helicopters employ "longer-range missiles against ground targets," it said.

  • Of all the Russian Air Force's attack helicopters, the Ka-52 is perhaps the most widely used.

A new intelligence briefing has announced that Russia's use of attack helicopters has allowed Putin's forces to gain an advantage in the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive.

According to the latest UK Ministry of Defence briefing, Russian troops have reinforced its attack helicopter forces, allowing them to gain "a temporary advantage in southern Ukraine, especially with attack helicopters employing longer-range missiles against ground targets."


Per the briefing, new imagery depicts "over 20 extra Russian helicopters deployed to Berdyansk Airport, approximately 100km behind the front line."

Of all the Russian Air Force's attack helicopters, the Ka-52 is perhaps the most widely used.  Russia is believed to have a force of 133 as of 2022.

A Royal United Services Institute report last year said Ka-52s helicopters have seen "more intensive use than the other fleets, both by day and especially at night, on all fronts in Ukraine."

Featuring an unusual coaxial rotor design and a side-by-side crew seating arrangement, Insider reported that it has been on the frontline and involved in the thickest fighting more than any other Russian attack helicopter since Russia's attack began in February 2022.

One of Russia's most modern helicopters, the Ka-52, entered service in 2011, and there are several variants. It has a ceiling of 18,000 feet and a top speed of 186 mph. It has ejection seats for its pilots — a rare feature for helicopters.

The Ka-52 can be armed with 4,000 pounds of rockets, missiles, and a 30 mm autocannon. Some variants also have a nose-mounted forward-looking infrared camera for targeting.

Russia Kamov Ka-52 Alligator helicopter
A Kamov Ka-52 Alligator helicopter during a military aviation competition in Russia's Krasnodar region on March 28, 2019.VITALY TIMKIV/AFP via Getty Images

Moscow regularly releases footage of Ka-52 operations, including with other helicopter gunships like the Mi-28 and Mi-24/35.

However, less armor means it is vulnerable to shoulder-launched missiles, like the US-made Stinger missile, and small-arms fire.

Last October, the British Ministry of Defence said that at least 23 Ka-52s had been shot down.



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