According to UK, Ukraine killed at least 14 RuAF Ka-52s in 24 hours

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In an intelligence brief released on October 19 by the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD), there is a strong insinuation that Russia suffered the loss of 14 helicopters in attacks on two aerodromes this week. These attacks were purportedly orchestrated by Ukraine, using long-range ballistic missiles launched from Army Tactical Missile Systems [ATACMS], furnished by the United States.

The brief outlines that the dimensions of damage remain yet to be definitively established, however, there is probability that nine choppers at Berdyansk, and another five at Luhansk, owned by the Russian military, were annihilated. Ukraine has claimed to have utilized the ATACMS provided by the US for the first time.

It further underpins that due to a formidable Ukrainian encroachment, Russian defense lines are increasingly reliant on the support of rotating wings given the insufficiency of Russian, fixed-wing, close-air defense resources.

Photo credit: RT

The bulletin suggests that Berdyansk, as the primary operational base along the southern axis, functioned as an integral logistics hub with both attack and defense capabilities. If these estimations are confirmed, it raises the likelihood that Russia’s operational capacity on this front could be substantially impaired.

“There is a credible premise this assault will coerce Russia into relocating its operational stations and command points further from the confrontation zones, escalating the demand on its logistics network,” the briefing concludes.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, declared on October 17 that Kyiv had targeted Russian airfields in both the Luhansk region and the port city of Berdyansk in the Zaporizhzhia region, employing the ATACMS.

Photo credit: RT

The particular missile models dispatched to Ukraine bear an approximate range of 100 miles, proving to be a strategic asset for Ukraine’s Forces during an essential phase of their resistance in the eastern and southern zones.

A disclosure by the US-based Institute for the Study of War [ISW] on October 18 states that Ukrainian ATACMS usage likely inflicted significant damage on Russian aircraft and equipment at the Berdyansk airfield on October 17, according to October 17 satellite images. However, the ISW has yet to ascertain the exact extent of the destruction.

Open-source intelligence analysts have highlighted at least seven locations with apparent signs of fire and destruction, where previous satellite images had revealed Russian helicopters. They also note significant helicopter displacement at the Berdyansk airbase.

Photo credit: Rosoboronexport

The Ukrainian military suggests that Russian forces had Mi-28, Mi-24, and Ka-52 aircraft stationed at the airfield before the attack, hinting at the potential of further damage inflicted.

Cluster munitions vs. Ka-52

Digital sources have unveiled an image depicting a damaged segment of a Russian Ka-52 assault helicopter’s fuselage, struck by an ATACMS projectile. This revelation purportedly originates from Ukraine-based analysts, drawing inferences from widely shared photographs. 

The damaged helicopter was seemingly captured at an airbase just beyond the antagonistic territory of Luhansk. As per satellite-generated imagery, a minimum of five adversary helicopters were determined to have sustained damage at this location. However, subsequent images highlight the intricate process of discerning the severity of the damage inflicted on helicopters from astral images. 

At first glance, the helicopter’s compartment and surrounding structure seem to have endured multiple perforations. Nevertheless, a more scrutinized view reveals a differing predicament: 

The highlighted Russian helicopter lacks any obvious signs of combustion, fragmentation, or any significant visible distortion – details that tend to remain elusive when viewed from a satellite perspective. Interestingly, one can discern several markers of M75 cluster submunition fragments within a single compartment area of around 1.5 by 1.5 meters. 

Photo credit: Medium

Simultaneously, the spotlight shifts towards the cabin, where the density of perforations in the vicinity of the engines and fuel system bear greater implications. Although referenced as ‘armored’ within Russian circles, the Ka-52’s structure primarily comprises small arms, as expressed by Russian pilots in the preceding spring season. 

Said helicopter, along with others bearing similar damage, are marked for the factory floor. Here, meticulous defect diagnoses will be conducted and any faulty components replaced. 

However, such restoration procedures require not only additional armor and raw materials but also substantial time. Indeed, weather conditions could potentially emerge as a more substantial obstacle for the Russian forces, due to their significant bearing on the progression of warfare. 

Several Ukrainian experts speculate that the Russians might avoid repairs on the impacted Ka-52 helicopters, opting instead to redeploy them to the front lines in their present state of disrepair.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Downed Ukrainian MiG-29s

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on October 20 that their skilled combination of fighters and air defense units managed to neutralize seven Ukrainian MiG-29 aircraft, a report from the Russian armed forces suggests. Looking back at the previous week, the report elaborated that as many as 12 enemy aircraft, including 10 MiG-29s, a pair of Su-25 attack planes, and two Mi-8 helicopters have been neutralized. 

A military analyst, Alexei Leonkov, attributes this success primarily to the well-structured collaboration of air reconnaissance and the apt management of the airspace control system, according to Izvestia. 

Photo credit: Ukrainian MoD

“Our aircraft was consistent targets of provocation and assault from these aircraft that employed AGM-88 missiles and decoys to obscure the actions of Storm Shadow,” Leonkov emphasized. “Therefore, it was imperative to neutralize these carrier aircraft.” 

Video screenshot

Russian military tacticians, as mentioned in Izvestia, aren’t surprised by the West’s haste in transferring Swedish F-16, Eurofighter, and Gripen to Ukraine, hinting at a substantial depletion of Ukraine’s aviation resources. Leonkov elaborates on this by stating, “It’s interesting to point out that the aircraft serving in the Air Force were sourced globally, with the United States and their allies supervising their assembly.”

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