Russia’s apex predator is now being hunted – and the Kremlin has one fewer Ka-52 “Alligator” (NATO reporting name Hokum-B) in service.
The Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade claimed to have downed one of the attack helicopters back around July 4, reportedly using an American-supplied FGM-148 Javelin – normally used to kill Russian tanks – on the Berdiansk Front in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
An Apex Predator
The Kamov Ka-52 “Alligator” is a two-seat-variant of the Kamov Ka-50 “Black Shark” (NATO reporting name Hokum A) single-seat attack helicopter. Both models utilize a distinctive coaxial rotor system that was developed by the Kamov Design Bureau. The original Ka-50 first entered service with the Russian Army in 1995, and it serves as a heavily armored scout helicopter, while the Ka-52 Alligator was developed in the mid-90s. Serial production was started in late 2008.
Russian state media has touted the capabilities of the Ka-52, stating the platform was developed to destroy tanks, armored and non-armored vehicles, manpower, rotorcraft, and other enemy aircraft on the frontline and in the tactical depth, in any weather conditions and at any time.
The Alligator is reported to be equipped with modern avionics, while its unique coaxial rotor system and enhanced longitudinal control enable the helicopter to “effectively maneuver and perform complex aerobatic operations.”
In addition, the Ka-52 also features a radio-electronic protection system, along with low signature devices to reduce, dissipate and distort the engine’s thermal trace, while it has active countermeasure capabilities.
However, even this apex predator can become the hunted – as noted by the recent losses in Ukraine.
To date, Russia has now lost a total of over 300 Russian rotary aircraft. That is on top of the possible 280,000 killed or wounded as well as possibly as many as 2,000 tanks damaged or destroyed in fighting since early last year.
The question now becomes obvious: how much carnage can Putin’s forces in Ukraine take?
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.