Ka-50 and Ka-52 Are Unrivalled in Combat
At times in the past, the utility of combat helicopters was been completely denied,. Now, they are acknowledged as an indispensable weapon in support of any successful ground operation. Today, many countries have developed combat action concepts based on the employment of army aviation helicopters. According to published data from combat exercises, helicopters in the late 1970s and early 1980s enjoyed the upper hand in duels with tanks, despite the disparity in strength often being 1:10, 1:14 or even 1:20 against. This led to the urgent equipping of tank units with air defence artillery and air defence missile systems to protect them from helicopter attacks. As a result of this, combat helicopters, fitted with antitank guided missiles boasting ranges of up to 5 km, became easy targets for the tank forces.
The development of the Ka-50 Black Shark and AH-64A Apache combat helicopters aimed to redress this disparity and allow the helicopters to defeat tanks armed with air defence weapons. The Ka-50 combat helicopter can defeat targets on the battlefield using high-precision supersonic antitank missile systems while standing off from air defence artillery and missile systems. The Ka-50 combat helicopter is designed to defeat modern armoured vehicles, air targets and hostile manpower.
This co-axial helicopter features high flight performance and ease of piloting via automated flight systems. It can successfully execute combat missions at day and at night owing to its high survivability under hostile fire, powerful armament and protected cockpit. The helicopter was tested in simulated combat conditions. It met all the requirements for combat helicopters and won a Ministry of Defence tender. The Ka-50 helicopter is unrivalled in the world in terms of the 'cost-efficiency' criteria, and in 1995 it entered service and is now series produced at the Progress Arsenyevsk-based aviation complex.
The success of any combat operation to support ground forces on the battlefield depends to a large extent on the joint combat actions of a groups combat helicopters. A group commander flying in a combat formation is responsible for control over his subordinate helicopters. His helicopter should be fitted with more sophisticated equipment to allow him to see better targets on the battlefield and ensure target designation and adequate fire distribution, provide for constant control over group combat helicopters and maintain communications with a ground command post. The scope of tasks assigned to the commander frees him from helicopter piloting. Consequently, he should fly in a two-seat flying combat vehicle.
The Ka-52, designated Alligator, multi-role all-weather combat helicopter, is intended for this purpose as a two-seat modification of the Ka-50 combat helicopter. Aircrew accommodated side-by-side in one cockpit can fly this helicopter and handle all on-board systems. The Alligator has retained all combat capabilities of its predecessor, including the whole array of weaponry. It is outfitted with a multifunctional on-board integrated electronic flight, navigation and weapon control system. Its passive/active observation/search and sighting systems ensure target search and their attack day/night in any weather conditions. The Sextant Avionics of France and CSF Thomson have taken part in creation of this helicopter. The Ka-52 Alligator is 85 percent identical to the Ka-50 base helicopter in terms of its airframe and main systems. Pilots escape via an ejection system. The Ka-52 Alligator can also be used as a trainer. Pilot accommodation and the availability of new multifunctional equipment system led to an increase in the weight of the empty helicopter and a small reduction in flight performance, compared to the Ka-50. However, this has not affected the quality of this flying machine as a whole.
Externally, the Ka-52 combat helicopter differs from its predecessor in the front part of the fuselage, shape of the cockpit and arrangement of round-the-clock observation/search and sighting systems. Pilots are rigged with pressurised helmets fitted with built-in displays to provide for required flight and sighting data. The Ka-50 and Ka-52 helicopters feature interchangeability, thereby reducing costs for series production and joint operation in combat units. Naturally, Alligator is more expensive than Black Shark. However, this is attributable to payments for the capability to perform combat missions at higher and more efficient levels. The advent of Ka-52 does not mean its automatic substitution by the Ka-50. They can be used more effectively in the interests of the ground forces, owing to their optimal joint employment in groupings. A similar approach is also adopted by the U.S. army aviation. The more costly and sophisticated AH-64D and AH-64D Longbow helicopter versions do not replace, but instead complement the AH-64A Apache helicopter groupings, thereby increasing their efficiency.
In the near future the Ka-52 will be subjected to tests. The Kamov company and its foreign partners are convinced that the successful results of the tests will enable the Ka-52 helicopter to occupy a leading position in its class. It is up to foreign buyers to decide whether to choose the Ka-50, or the Ka-52, or a hybrid to meet their requirements.
"Intellectual support" helicopter destined to support the Ka-50
Main rotor diameter 14.50m
Length 15.90m (with rotor)
Max take-off mass 11,400kg.
Max horizontal speed 310km/h
Max side sliding speed 80km/h
Max backward speed 90km/h
Static ceiling 3600m
Max vertical speed 8m/s (at 2500m)
Practical range 530km (without extra tanks)
Max flight time 3.0-3.5 hours (with extra tanks)
Max overload 3.0
Optics locator Samshit
Thompson's thermovision station (France)
Telescopic/laser collimated tracking system (up to 15km)
Top-mounted Arbalet MMW radar
Four colour multifunction LCD displays
Front window pilot's display [HUD]
Helmet mounted seeker/tracker for operator
Doubled flight controls (can be used as a trainer)
K-37 ejectable seats
Two Klimov TV3-117VMA, 2,200hp with VR-80 reductor (more powerful engines can be used with the same reductor; 2,500hp engines are planned with short "emergency mode" of 2,800hp).
30mm gun 2A42 (as for BMP-2) with selective round feeds. Four underwing pylons. Up to 12 supersonic anti-tank missiles "Vikhr-M" with laser guidance and tandem warhead. Kh-25ML ASMs (up to 15km) with laser semi-active guidance. 2 x R-73 or 12 x Igla-V AAMs