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19th Apr 2022

Ukrainian soldiers claim to have shot down £11m helicopter with £75 rocket launcher

Danny Jones

Ukrainian troops Russian helicopter rocket launcher

The rocket launcher was reportedly Soviet made, too..

Ukrainian soldiers deployed in the Kharkiv region of the country claim to have taken down an £11m Russian helicopter with a cheap rocket launcher worth just £75.

According to reports from Ukrainian military unit Operational Command ‘East’ on its Facebook page, soldiers managed to shoot down a Russian Ka-52 helicopter – estimated to be worth $15m – with a more rudimentary rocket launcher known as an ‘Igla’, which they say cost “100 bucks paid for by the Soviet Union.”

The ‘Igla’ is an older anti-aircraft weapon manufactured by the Russians back in 1971, firing much less effective projectiles but it would seem the weapon has been turned against its creators in this instance, though the reports have yet to be fully verified.

As the unit explains in the lengthy translated caption, the takedown happened at night when enemy helicopters were hovering low; “they circled over our positions, not even allowing us to raise our heads. And an anti-aircraft gunner fired two missiles at them. One, however, hit a heat trap, and the other shot down a Ka-53. It fell…”

Citing an officer named Yaroslav, the soldier went on to say: “It would be a pity to spend a ‘Stinger’ on them” – a more sophisticated surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, valued at closer to $120,000 (£92.4k) and commonly used by armed forces across the globe. A single missile fired from a Stinger rocket launcher is said to cost around $38,000.

Fortunately, besides this particular engagement, Ukraine has been receiving shipments of both Stingers and Javelin missile launchers from the likes of the UK, Europe and the US at a reportedly discounted rate since the invasion began.

It has now been 55 days since Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine and he is reportedly readying his biggest offensive yet, hoping to take the largely rebel region of the Donbas in its entirety.

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