One of the first Russian aircraft deployed to dominate Ukrainian skies, the Kamov Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ helicopter, is making headlines about ten months after the invasion/SMO.
In the video on social media on December 29, a Ka-52 attack helicopter can be seen bursting into flames after a forced landing.
The chopper was reportedly destroyed by the crew themselves soon after the landing. The footage, although published recently, seems to have been recorded earlier in the war.
Some social media accounts that have been ardently following the developments of the war claimed that it had been a standard operating procedure for both sides to destroy sophisticated and valuable military equipment that cannot be recovered. It is done to prevent hostile forces from accessing cutting-edge, classified technology used in military equipment.
#Ukraine: Footage from earlier in the war showing the destruction of a Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter after a forced landing.
This is standard operating procedure for both sides when expensive/valuable equipment cannot be recovered. pic.twitter.com/sE1c4QKrJX
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) December 29, 2022
Incidentally, this video of the Ka-52 being destroyed by its crew was published just days after another video showing the evacuation of a Russian Ka-52 by Ukrainian forces went viral.
The helicopter with a tale number ’18’ being towed in the video was reportedly left at the Gostomel Airport by the Russian troops at the onset of the invasion, and no effort was made to recover the helicopter for the next 40 days.
The video shows the Ukrainian military loading the helicopter, triggering speculations that the United States was already examining the technology. Some netizens even wondered if the helicopter was being loaded and sent to the United States to decode the technology of Russia’s deadliest attack helicopter.
Ukrainian forces evacuating Russian Ka-52 helicopter with tail number 18, left in Ukraine by the Russian Army on February 24. pic.twitter.com/j0kvIH1Ugk
— Clash Report (@clashreport) December 26, 2022
Both the combatants in the war know that the battlefield is not only a test bed for evaluating the combat efficiency of weapon systems but also a laboratory for studying and breaking down the military technology used by the opposing side.
For instance, EurAsian Times had reported earlier this year that the US and UK scientists were allegedly examining a downed Su-35 fighter jet of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Not just that, media reports have suggested that Russia’s most advanced T-90M Proryv tank, which Russia was hesitant to deploy at first, has also been captured and examined by Western scientists and military engineers.
On its part, Russia was also reportedly examining a HIMARS missile that did not explode on impact. This has also been the case with many MANPADS and anti-tank guided missiles like the Javelins, which Ukraine has extensively deployed since the early months of the conflict.
Kamov Ka-52 Helicopters Are Vulnerable
The Ka-52 attack helicopters reportedly stormed the Hostomel (Gostomel) airport on February 24, when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine to seize control of the landing strip.
The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) were said to have lost six helicopters in the ensuing combat, including the Ka-52 Alligator, their best assault helicopter.
The Ka-52 can travel at a top speed of 186 mph and has a ceiling of 18,000 feet. Pilot ejection seats and side-by-side cockpit chairs are some of its most striking features. More than 4,000 pounds of weaponry, such as rockets, missiles, or guns and ammo, can be stored in its six wing-mounted hard points.
The fuselage’s right side is home to a 30mm auto-cannon, and some variants of the chopper also come with a nose-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera. Tanks, unarmored, and armored vehicles can all be destroyed by the Ka-52 combat-scout aircraft.
The Ka-52 can also take out enemy soldiers and helicopters at the tactical depth or front lines and has been extensively deployed by the Russian Aerospace Forces to achieve these objectives.
By November, Russia had lost 25 Ka-52 attack helicopters in its fight with Ukraine, according to the Oryx, a group of professionals documenting the destroyed weapons in the conflict in Ukraine based on visual evidence.
The Ka-52’s performance in combat, where it suffered losses during the ongoing Ukraine War, directly refutes Russia’s assertions that it can smoothly operate in modern combat zones. Ukrainian MANPADS shot down nearly every Ka-52 that was destroyed in battle.
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