Russia to deploy Ka-52 attack helicopters to Syria to protect Latakia air base

The “Hokum-B” combat helicopters will be used to protect the Russian contingent at Hmeymim airbase.

Russian Kamov Ka-52 (NATO reporting name “Hokum-B”) helicopters would be about to deploy to Syria according to a source who talked to ITAR-TASS.

The attack choppers will be used to protect the Russian Task Force deployed to Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, as well as to conduct CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) missions as the one launched to rescue the two pilots who ejected from the Su-24 Fencer shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 in November 2015 (during which, a Mi-8AMTSh Hip helicopter was hit by ground fire and later destroyed).

Interestingly, the first Ka-52 deployment will also be an opportunity for the Russians to test new technologies as the KRET Vitebsk EW (Electronic Warfare System).

According to the manufacturer, the Vitebsk can protect the helicopter from anti-aircraft threats in a range of several hundred kilometers, determining who is aiming at the aircraft and, once a missile is fired by a MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System), forcing it away from the designated target.

“Interestingly, when this system is onboard, it can protect not only the helicopter or plane, but everything within a certain radius, forming an “electronic canopy” around the object being protected.”

Actually, this is not the first time the Ka-52s are reported to be about to deploy or already deployed to Syria: at the end of November, Sputnik News published a video showing Hokum-B helicopters allegedly operating in Syria. Looks like the segment showing the combat helicopter was old footage filmed somewhere else.

Image credit: ITAR-TASS


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. It will just give the opposition and ISIS more easy targets to target practice on lol

    • The W in TOW is “wire guided” so i guess it wouldn’t do much good against it. But as usual Russians overhype their weapon systems. The sentence “We can see and shoot down all known stealth fighter jets” comes to mind (I wonder where did they have an opportunity to actually point their radar towards F-22/35 and see it, but that is a question that russian military brass doesn’t answer.. And the list goes on.. Each and every weapon system they produce is the “best in the world” and “far superior to western technology”.. This is an ultimate arrogance, claiming that your systems works as advertised without actually deploying them in real combat scenarios ( we all know how many weapons claimed to do this and that but eventually failed miserably in actual true war scenario).

      • As far as we can see russian systems do their work in Syria while western counterparts fail in Iraq and Yemen in real conflict without western propaganda machine)

  2. Will they send the each and every production model there is (all 80 of them) down there, or will they leave a few to guard the “mother Russia”? As usual Russia doesn’t have the output power or economical power to manufacture fancy new toys in large numbers. This is a Russian Tiger tank. These helicopters would be confronted by thousands of Apaches on a battle ground, and of course loose miserably. I guess Russkies forgot the old Stalin saying “quantity has a quality of its own”

    • If the Russians and Americans ever face of directly instead of through proxies the leadership on both sides has already failed miserably. Neither side would come out as winners.

    • For defense purposes quantities are more than enough, for local conflicts as well. For other scenarios like “thousands of Apaches” they have nuclear weapons.

  3. Surely they don’t, and neither do you. Any military victory is just the beginning of the problem. The US destroyed the functioning Iraqi military in only 3 weeks. It was the insurgency, the angry populace easy to co-opted by external influence, that the US, the Russians, Assad, and even you have no idea how to deal with. Suppose the Russians and Assad destroy the functional rebellion command structures? How do you suppose Syria is going to function with the rebellion atomizing into smaller more independent groups? Or joining ISIS, and most def getting a steady flow of money and arms from Saudi Arabia? In short what to the Russians bring to table to address the Suni Shiite divide that is a major fracture in Syria? Russia has zero experience in uplifting regions smashed by war into functioning recoveries. If recent history is a example, Syria will be ruined like Chechnya, and will be a basket case for years to come easy for any new rebellion to rise again. I realize the Russians, and you belive that, Assad and Iran can carry the day. But I think you refuse to understand how much the Suni majority funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states will not let this happen. I also realize that you are of the opinion that if anything the US and its allies do is wrong, everything the Russians do is good. We’re two weeks into the Russians finally making some headway after months of stagnation. Saudia Arabia will react we’ll see how long this lasts. However even if Assad wins I see no indication from Russia, Iran, or Assad that they know how to secure a peace.

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