Ka-52 came back from the dead by dropping anti-missile decoys

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Imagine the heart-stopping scene: a Ka-52 attack helicopter of the Russian army, staring down the barrel of the formidable Strela-10 anti-aircraft system. But in this high-stakes game of aerial cat and mouse, the crew of the Ka-52 pulled off a miraculous escape. With an adrenaline-fueled drop of anti-missile decoys at the eleventh hour, they seemingly returned from the brink of annihilation. 

Photo credit: SavunmaSanayiST.com

But let’s rewind to June 24, when a storm was brewing on the ground. The Wagner – a Russian paramilitary organization – dared to challenge the authority of the Russian army, launching a mutiny that threatened to upturn the status quo. As Wagner’s forces advanced toward Moscow, it seemed like a tense standoff was inevitable. Enter the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, who stepped into the fray to negotiate a peaceful resolution.

All the while, the progress of Wagner’s forces was closely monitored from the skies by the vigilant eyes of the Russian army’s Ka-52 helicopters. Their contribution, as silent observers and potential defenders, was undoubtedly pivotal in this high-pressure situation.

The shots

Imagine a Ka-52 helicopter in the heat of an air campaign, narrowly avoiding a deadly missile strike from Wagner’s forces. The 9K35 Strela-10, known to NATO as the SA-13 “Gopher”, a low-altitude air defense system, was the weapon of choice. In a heart-stopping moment, the 9M37 anti-aircraft missile, launched by Wagner’s forces, whizzed past the helicopter, missing it by a hair’s breadth and heading off into oblivion. 

What saved the day? The quick-thinking Ka-52 crew unleashed a hail of counter-munitions, the cleverly named ‘decoys’. As the 9M37 missile, fired by the Strela-10, hurtled towards them, the decoys diverted its path, saving the helicopter and its crew from a fiery end. This incident underscores the incredible efficacy of these flares as a defense against infrared-guided missiles, a testament to the marvels of modern warfare technology.

Flare is a magnesium-made counter-munition and can trick infrared-homing missiles and protect aircraft. This clever device, commonly used in aviation, releases strong heat when fired, quickly distracting missiles from their original target.

9K35 Strela-10

Meet the Strela-10, a formidable Russian man-portable air defense system. It’s not your average weapon; this system cleverly mounts 2 or 4 missiles on a nimble, lightweight platform. It’s mobility and firepower in one potent package.

This system isn’t just about raw power; it’s about finesse and precision. Outfitted with state-of-the-art radar guidance and surveillance equipment, it can detect, diagnose, and track enemy aircraft with pinpoint accuracy. And let’s not forget about the 9M37 missile. This powerhouse has a range of 5 kilometers and can soar to a height of 3 kilometers. With an infrared [IR] guidance system and the ability to reach a maximum speed of Mach 2, it’s a force to be reckoned with.


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