Russia’s Kamov Ka-52 (‘Hokum-B’) helicopter has made its combat debut in Syria, according to a Russian defense industry source.
“Both Mi-28N and Ka-52 combat helicopters have started to make combat sorties in Syria. Mi-28N was used for the first time near Palmira (Homs province) in late March, while Ka-52 has made its combat debut in the vicinities of the Homs city in early April”, the source said. He pointed out, that one Ka-52 had been exploited as a “counter-terroristic asset”, eliminating small groups of terrorists, using both unguided and high-precision weapons.
“The Ka-52 helicopter was equipped with two types of ‘Ataka’ guided missile (AT-9 Spiral-2), namely, armed with anti-tank (9M120) and anti-personnel (9M120F, F stands for fugasnaya, high-explosive) warheads. As the terrorists had not deployed armoured vehicles in the area, where the Ka-52’s first combat sortie took place, the helicopter used 80mm S-8OFP unguided rockets and 9M120F guided missiles to eliminate several groups of terrorists”, the source added.
He said that 9M120F fully revealed its combat potential as an anti-personnel weapon as it had eliminated a group of terrorists in a small trench, being guided via radio command channel. “Even S-8OFP. unexpectedly, turned out to be a relatively precision rocket,” the source pointed out. He did not mention the losses of the terrorists.
The source said that the Ka-52 helicopter was equipped with the L370 Vitebsk jamming system developed by Russian KRET radio-electronic concern. “Before the first Ka-52’s combat sortie in Syria we registered several types of man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) obtained by the terrorists. At least, three types of MANPADS were spotted, namely, Soviet Strela-2 (SA-7 ‘Grail’), Igla-1 (SA-16 ‘Gimlet’) and Chinese FN-6 (HY-6) systems. Vitebsk jammed the MANPADS, having successfully protected the helicopter”, the source pointed out.
In early 2016, Russia deployed the newest Mi-28N and Ka-52 combat helicopters at the Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province to test them in combat. According to several unofficial reports, both types of rotor-wing aircraft have proven themselves to be reliable and combat effective. Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters were using the similar weapon suit, which comprised 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon, S-8OFP unguided rockets and two types of ‘Ataka’ guided missile, both anti-tank and anti-personnel. Mi-28N has confirmed to have destroyed at least one armoured vehicle (reportedly, BMP-1) and a small building, while Ka-52 was attacking soft-skin targets. It should be noted, that Russia’s Ministry of Defense have not officially confirmed the Ka-52’s first combat sortie yet.