Just yesterday, we commented a video posted by the Russian MOD that proved that the Ka-52 Alligator helicopters are still lobbing unguided rockets at targets in Ukraine in the very same way we had observed a couple of weeks earlier, when the first clips of Russian Aerospace Forces Ka-52 and Mi-28 Havoc helicopters had started circulating online.
The tactic is the following: the helicopters fly at low level then pull up into steep climb, and launch the rockets at the top of the parabolic arc of their flightpath, sending them downrange, then they break hard left and escape fast at low altitude again to remain outside of man portable air defense systems’ kill zone.
As we explained, the above tactic, that turns the Russian helicopters into airborne MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) launchers, extends the range of the rockets but is far from accurate, and could only be effectively employed against soft area targets that do not require accuracy or be used to put psychological pressure on the enemy. At the same time, this attack profile allows the gunships to attack their area targets from longer distance while remaining outside the range of the MANPADS
However, not even this tactic can save the attack helicopter from the Ukrainian air defense systems: US-made FIM-92 Stinger or Polish Piorun GROM Thunder MANPADS have been particularly lethal during the war against the Russian invaders. As the following video, that has emerged on Apr. 1, 2022, proves.
The footage shows the moment a Russian Mi-28 Havoc helicopter took a direct hit by a MANPADS missile that blew off its tail causing it to crash to the ground. Reportedly, the event occurred in the Luhansk Oblast.
Interestingly, at the beginning of the clip you can also see the gunship helicopter use the ballistic rocket-launching tactic, perform an evasion maneuver to egress the area at low level and be hit in the exhaust area by the missile that caused the tail boom to separate from the rest of the aircraft.