Russia’s “crocodile” Ka-52 launches missiles and explodes Ukrainian armored vehicles

The Russian Defense Ministry released a video of Ka-52 helicopters attacking Ukrainian armored vehicles south of Donetsk.

The Russian Defense Ministry July 8 released a video recording the moment a Ka-52 helicopter crashed into a Ukrainian armored personnel carrier as it was moving south of Donetsk.

The image from the video shows the Ka-52 helicopter observing and targeting, before launching a guided missile at the target.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian armored vehicle exploded and was completely destroyed after being hit by fire from the Ka-52 helicopter.

“Hit it!” said one of the Ka-52 crew members after hitting the target.

The Ka-52 is a next-generation combat and reconnaissance helicopter, designed to deal with both armored and non-armored land vehicles, tanks, soldiers, and helicopters. The Russian “crocodile” Ka-52 can be used both in combat and reconnaissance missions.

The Ka-52 is armed with a 30mm automatic cannon and can also carry laser-guided anti-tank missiles, short-range air-to-air missiles, and other bombs and missiles. Ka-52 can reach speeds of over 290km/h and fly nearly 5,000m high.

South Donetsk is currently one of the main fighting fronts for Ukrainian forces amid Kiev’s counter-offensive that began last month. The Russian Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian military tried to counterattack but did not make much progress. 

The Ukrainian military, along with Western analysts and officials, have long emphasized the power of the Russian air force, including fighter jets and attack helicopters, especially its ability to destroy Ukrainian armored vehicles. In addition, Kiev also lacks air defense systems on the front lines to intercept Russian aircraft.

Russia in June deployed 20 more helicopters, including the Ka-52 model, to the airport in the city of Berdyansk, about 100km from Orikhiv. This is one of the main bases for the operations of Russian helicopters.

However, Ka-52 helicopters still cannot avoid mistakes on the battlefield. The Russian Ministry of Defense in early June released a video of a “Crocodile” helicopter using sensors to launch missiles at what is believed to be a Leopard 2 tank in an open field, but Western experts later said. The downed target was the pesticide sprayer.

“Crocodile” is also very vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles when within range. Russia has lost at least 35 Ka-52s since February 2022, according to the open intelligence tracking site Oryx.

Colonel Yuriy Ignat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force, also downplayed the threat posed by Russian attack helicopters during the counterattack. “The Ka-52 is by no means a helicopter that establishes air superiority, nor does it provide decisive firepower on the battlefield,” he said.

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