Bloggers and pro-Kremlin supporters on social media shared a video showing the Russian Kamov Ka-52 “Crocodile” attack helicopter flying with its tail torn off.
Pro-Russian Telegram channels initially reported that the Ka-52 had been damaged due to the failure of throwing its auxiliary fuel tanks. However, they later changed their minds and indicated that the attack helicopter was hit by an air defense missile and returned to the airport, despite the severe damage.
At the same time, military analysts note that several fuel tanks can be seen dropping away from the Ka-52 right at the beginning of the video, and the helicopter is still armed with anti-tank missiles.
Moreover, the Black Sea coast shown at the beginning of the video confirms that the helicopter was damaged before it was in the combat zone and was located near an airfield near Berdyansk which is controlled by Russian forces.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 19, 2023
A photo of the aircraft after landing reveals how this section of the tail rotated more than 90 degrees, but it does not appear to have been damaged by an anti-aircraft missile.
Apparently, the reason for the disintegration of the Ka-52 attack helicopter in flight was caused by unexpected strong vibrations at the time when the aircraft was trying to gain the necessary speed and altitude.
It’s no secret that Russian Ka-52 helicopters suffer from a major vibration problem. Real operating experience in war conditions in Ukraine confirmed that the Ka-52 is prone to excessive vibrations leading to mechanical failures and vibration fatigue.
It is very clear in this video. pic.twitter.com/7niPs8ikJu
— Arda Mevlutoglu (@orko_8) May 12, 2022
Photos and videos that have surfaced on social media show a range of different damages to Ka-52 helicopters caused by excessive body vibration during takeoff or landing. Russian combat helicopters lose their landing gear streamlines, and they have cracks in the wings on which the main weapon is suspended.