MOSCOW, March 14 (Itar-Tass) — Chief of Air Force headquarters Maj-Gen Viktor Bondarev said the Ka-52 pilots had been trying to avoid the crash until the very end.
"The Air Force flight safety service is looking into the cause of the accident," Bondarev told reporters on Wednesday, "I can only say the pilots were trying to save their helicopter and their lives until the last moment."
"No cause can be ruled out at present, but my personal opinion it was something beyond the crew's capability," he added.
"Fortunately, the flight data recorder boxes are in very good condition," according to the military official.
The helicopter was on a scheduled training flight. Radio contact with the crew was lost at around 21:00, Moscow time, on Monday. It was found on Tuesday morning, 2 kilometers northwest from the village of Malaya Kisilenka, Tver region. Both pilots died in the crash.
The Ka-52 was assigned to the Torzhok-based combat use and crew retraining centre. It did not have ammunition on board, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.
Ka-52 /Alligator/ is a multi-role helicopter gunship, intended for aerial reconnaissance, target designation and coordination of helicopters' actions in battlefield.
Russia launched production of Ka-52 helicopters at the Progress plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in 2009. The first four Alligators were supplied to the Torzhok combat use and crew retraining centre in February 2011.
The 2012 state defence procurements envision the purchase of 30 Ka-52s. Ten Alligators have already been manufactured.
There have been no orders to ground this type of helicopters in connection with the accident, the Defence Ministry said.