What could be called steady progress for the Ukrainian armed forces, as they announce the third downing of a Russian helicopter this working week, at least two of them claimed to be KA-52 attack helicopters.
Ukraine claimed two shot-down KA-52 helicopters on Thursday morning, one in the Bakhmut theatre and the other near Zaporizhzhia, the Ukrainian city perhaps best known for being the location of Europe’s largest nuclear power station. The Ka-52 is a two-seat attack helicopter roughly analogous in role and vintage to the U.S.-built Apache helicopters, and is known for its distinctive contra-rotating coaxial rotor pair.
The claimed downing follow a third helicopter Ukraine said they downed on Monday. While the type of aircraft brought down was not specified in the initial report from the Air Force Command, it was later reported by the Kyiv Post that this, too, was a Russian KA-52.
Ukrainian Soldiers with the 47th Mechanized Brigade managed to Shoot Down a Russian Ka-52 “Alligator” Attack Helicopter earlier today using a RBS-70 MANPADS near the Settlement of Robotyne on the “Zaporizhzhia” Frontline; the Pilot was able to Eject but the Navigator Died. pic.twitter.com/7RKDwQchcL
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) August 17, 2023
Per Ukrainian state media, the first aircraft shot down Thursday near Bakhmut by an “anti-aircraft missile” and the second in Zaporizhzhia near Robotyne was brought down by “one launch from MANPADS”, a ‘Man Portable Air Defence System’. According to Ukraine’s own battlefield statistics, the claimed losses are among 314 Russian helicopters they say they’ve brought down in the conflict so far.
Ukraine also claims to have “liquidated” a quarter-million Russian personnel and destroyed over 4,300 tanks and 8,300 armoured personnel carriers. One open-source analysis of combat footage and images coming out of the warzone puts the number far lower, however, with 90 Russian combat helicopters proven downed, 41 of those being KA-52s.