Tough life of a helicopter pilot
The Ukrainian air force is clearly at a big
disadvantage and flies just a fraction of the
missions the Russians fly. In general, it's
less than 10 per day. Before the war started
the aircraft managed to disperse to backup airfields and were able to operate from
the grass surfaces however the shocks
had a negative effect on the missiles. The
Russians possess two main advantages they enjoy the AWACS Beriev A-50 support
and their missiles feature longer range.
Therefore, the Ukrainians have to be very
resourceful to get the Russians into the
trap, like in the aforementioned case. These
are however isolated cases and many
Ukrainian pilots lost their lives in defense of
their homeland. The Ukrainian anti-aircraft
systems also present the top target. Therefore, they only engage their radar for a very
short time (60 to 120 seconds) to impair
their location. However, with the center of
the Russian air operations moving towards
the front lines the Ukrainian anti-aircraft
batteries had to follow and many paid the
On the front the Ukrainians can only use
the portable rocket systems - Soviet Igla,
American Stinger and lastly the British
Starstreak. They are not efficient against
the aircraft flying at high altitudes however
can make helicopter pilots’ life miserable.
Kamov Ka-52 suffered 10% losses of the
whole deployed inventory. Last one was
destroyed on Friday, April 15 by the troops
from 93rd Mechanized Brigade “Kholodnyi
Yar”. According to their account, during the
night two Russian helicopters were flying
so low that they decided not to waste Stingers and used the Soviet missiles Igla. One
helicopter avoided the missile with the help
of flares however the second one was hit,
crashed in the field, and exploded.
Before that one Ka-52 was destroyed on
Tuesday April 5 even with an anti-tank missile. The aircraft was hovering for a long
time above a cluster of trees and so the
operator of the Ukrainian made Stugna-P
missile got him in his sights. On Friday April 1 a video confirmed the first successful
deployment of the British Starstreak missile in Ukraine. A Mi-28 helicopter was hit
and broke up midair. No wonder the Russian helicopter pilots do not rush into action.
A video appeared showing Mi-28 and Ka-52
operating as an air platform rocket launchers for carpet bombing by the unguided
missiles. The aircraft arrive at maximum
speed close to the ground, then they start
climbing and during this maneuver launch
salvos of unguided missiles on the ballistic curve, to extend their range, towards the
Ukrainian positions. Right after the launch
they turn around launching the flares as
Wreckage of a Ka-52 helicopter destroyed by an Igla missile on April 15.
Ukrainian Mi-8MSB shot down during an evacuation flight from Mariupol.
This is not the result of a strike by a giant fly swatter. A Russian Mi-17MTV was destroyed by an anti-tank missile
immediately after an emergency landing.