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

a precaution.

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.

May 2022

INFO Eduard