The pilot “Samara” said that his helicopter squadron destroyed 5 targets in just a few minutes when participating in intercepting the Ukrainian armored convoy in Zaporizhzhia.
Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency on August 14 published an interview with the pilot, nicknamed Samara, the commander of the armed helicopter squadron that participated in blocking a large-scale attack by the Ukrainian army in the direction of Orekhov in Zaporizhzhia before that’s a few days.
“We just finished the night shift and planned to return to the barracks to rest, but received orders from the high command. Intelligence shows that the Ukrainian army is opening the front with tanks and armored vehicles to attack the village of Rabotino in the direction of Orekhov. Everyone was ready to fight,” Samara recounted.
The Russian helicopter squadron quickly took off, followed the landmarks to the gathering area and waited for the order to attack. Samara’s Ka-52 is fitted with six Vikhr-guided anti-tank missiles with a maximum range of 10-12 km and a speed of 1.8 times the speed of sound. This is the main weapon of the Ka-52 series, which is thoroughly used to deal with armored tanks in the Ukrainian service.
As soon as the Ukrainian formation was mobile to the south, Russian forces synthesized coordinates and zoned each squadron of helicopters.
“We received information and began to destroy the target, launching a total of 5 missiles within 10 minutes. The shells destroyed 5 targets, including a Leopard main battle tank and two combat vehicles. Bradley infantry, a MaxxPro mine-resistant vehicle and a Kirpi armored vehicle,” Samara recalls.
The Russian pilot said that each squadron has three different helicopters. The main force is the Ka-52 model, equipped with a modern sensor system and long-range missiles, specializing in ambushing Ukrainian motor vehicles. A Mi-28 armed helicopter will provide cover while the Ka-52 guides the missile, while the Mi-8 multi-purpose helicopter maneuvers nearby to rescue the pilot if they are shot down or make an emergency landing.
Ukraine has not commented on this information.
On the front lines, Ukraine does not have a strong air defense network and the Russian air force is taking advantage of this weakness. Due to the lack of large air defense complexes to cover the entire sky, Ukrainian soldiers have to depend on short-range shoulder-fired missiles, which require the gunner to see the target before firing.
Justin Bronk, an expert at the British Royal Research Institute for Defense and Security (RUSI), said that Russian aircraft carrying guided anti-tank missiles had exerted great power in hindering Ukraine’s counter-offensive campaign.
Russian helicopters often fly at very low altitudes, taking advantage of terrain and cover and operating strongly at night to limit the danger from short-range air defense complexes and man-portable missiles. Attacking moving ground targets with guided weapons in complex weather conditions is a significant advantage of the Ka-52 over flat-wing strike fighters like the Su-25.
The threat posed by Russian attack helicopters puts Ukrainian forces in a dilemma. Without deploying modern air defense complexes to the front lines, their tanks and armor will easily receive air attacks from Russian helicopters. But if you push modern air defense systems close to the battlefield, they are at risk of being ambushed by the suicide UAVs that Russia is using.