Russia is deploying “model new” variants of one in every of its prized assault helicopters in southern Ukraine as Kyiv cranks up its counteroffensive efforts within the area, in accordance with a brand new evaluation.
Moscow has “augmented” its forces in southern Ukraine “with at the very least a small variety of model new, Ka-52M variants,” the British Protection Ministry mentioned its in day by day intelligence briefing on Thursday.
The Ka-52 “Alligator” is one in every of Russia’s most prized scout-attack helicopters, and Ukraine typically amplifies information of Ka-52s being taken out over Ukrainian territory. The Ka-52 is “one of many single most influential Russian weapon programs” within the contested southern Zaporizhzhia area, the U.Ok. Protection Ministry mentioned.
Kyiv’s counteroffensive, now approaching the two-month mark, has targeted on pushing again Russian forces in jap and southern Ukraine. However Ukraine could also be rising its efforts to reclaim territory in Zaporizhzhia after sluggish however regular positive aspects alongside completely different components of the entrance traces.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Protection Ministry mentioned Ukraine had launched “intensive” offensive operations and a “huge assault” in western Zaporizhzhia. Ukrainian forces deployed three tank battalions, the Russian authorities mentioned.
The brand new Ka-52 variants energetic on this area are “closely modified plane,” the U.Ok. Protection Ministry mentioned, including the adjustments had been influenced by Moscow’s experiences preventing in Syria. There are not any confirmed losses of a modified Ka-52M helicopters in Ukraine, and Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Protection Ministry for remark through e mail.
Russian state media has reported that the Ka-52M, which is fitted with longer-range weapons and higher defenses, has been “examined” in Ukraine. It accomplished its maiden flight in August 2020, in accordance with state information company Tass.
Russia has probably misplaced round 40 of its Ka-52s because it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the federal government division mentioned. The British Protection Ministry beforehand mentioned Moscow had 90 of the assault helicopters in operation earlier than the conflict, that means it has now probably misplaced round half of its fleet.
In keeping with a tally of visually-confirmed fight losses collated by Dutch open-source intelligence outlet, Oryx, Russia has misplaced 39 Ka-52s in Ukraine, as of Thursday.
However the Ka-52 has “additionally imposed a heavy value on Ukraine,” the U.Ok. authorities mentioned. It’s designed to focus on all forms of army automobiles and tanks, in addition to taking out enemy manpower and the opposing army’s helicopters.
Russia’s Ka-52 fleet has been upgraded with a brand new anti-tank missile with a spread of round 15 kilometers, or simply beneath 10 miles, the British Protection Ministry mentioned.
“Ka-52 crews have been fast to take advantage of alternatives to launch these weapons past the vary of Ukrainian air defenses,” it mentioned.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces launched a “vital” counteroffensive to the south of the Zaporizhzhia metropolis of Orikhiv, together with deploying tanks, the U.S. assume tank, the Institute for the Research of Conflict mentioned in its newest analysis.
Ukrainian forces probably superior within the assault, reducing via Russian defenses, the assume tank mentioned, though Russian forces “pushed Ukrainian troops again considerably, though not all the best way again to their beginning positions.”