Home History Ka-52 Russian Attack Helicopter is Lighter, Quieter — But Not Invincible

Ka-52 Russian Attack Helicopter is Lighter, Quieter — But Not Invincible

by Enochadmin

From the time Russia launched its invasion in Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the surprising resistance its forces met led to a gradual dedication of weapons, refined and easy, for a widening vary of capabilities. When it got here to air assist for its troopers, tanks and weapons, Russia has relied not solely on jet airplanes just like the Sukhoi Su-25 Grach (“rook”), however assault helicopters such because the Kamov Ka-52 Alligator.

Historical past of the Kamov Ka-52

The Alligator’s evolution started within the Eighties, when the Soviet Union’s Kamov design bureau developed a comparatively small, smooth single-seat assault helicopter lifted by Kamov’s signature coaxial contrarotating double rotors, which offered stability with no tail rotor, in addition to the flexibility to carry out loops and rolls.

It underwent its first take a look at flight on June 17, 1982 and was accepted for manufacturing by the Soviet Council of Ministers on December 14, 1987. Designated Ka-50, its fifth prototype wore a jet-black end in a preferred Soviet-made motion movie referred to as “Chyornaya Akula” (“The Black Shark”), which was adopted for the kind’s nickname. In distinction, the North Atlantic Treaty Group codenamed it “Hokum-A.”

Manufacturing was taken up by the Progressive Arsenyev Aviation Firm in Arsenyev, Primorski Krai, however the financial turmoil that attended the dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted within the Ka-50s popping out in spurts — solely a dozen as of Aug. 28, 1987, for instance.

Furthermore, in 1982 the Mil design bureau concurrently launched a two-seater helicopter gunship, the Mi-28, whose firepower and 300 kilograms of armor earned it a manufacturing contract, in addition to an applicable NATO codename: “Havoc.”

In 1997, Kamov, aided by Israel Plane Industries, redesigned the Ka-50 as a tandem two-seater referred to as the Ka-50 Erdogan, in hopes of successful a $4 million contract for 145 assault copters from Turkey. The contract was diminished to 50 and in the end went to the Italian A129 Mangusta in 2007, however in the midst of the Erdogan’s improvement, the Kamov group was impressed to revamp the floundering Ka-50 right into a side-by-side two-seater, in a position to accommodate the most recent in goal acquisition methods. The primary Ka-52 was unveiled in December 1996, bought its first take a look at flight on June 25, 1997, and was adopted as a complement to the Mi-28. Judging it too just like its forebear to price a separate codename, NATO designated the brand new two-seater “Hokum-B.”  

The Ka-52 had a day and evening tv and thermal sighting system contained in two spherical turrets, one above the cockpit and one underneath the nostril. It had a set side-mounted cannon — in contrast to the Mi-28, whose gun was versatile — and its wings held six hardpoints for missiles, whereas the Ka-50 and the Mi-28 solely had 4. Within the occasion of their plane taking place, the crewmen had the uncommon resort of NPP Zvezda (“Star”) Ok-37-800 ejector seats, for which emergencies explosive costs would blow away the rotor blades above them.

For additional comparability, the Ka-52 can fly 1,640 toes larger than the Mi-28 and at 52 toes is shorter, though the Mi-28 presents a smaller vertical profile. Whereas the Mi-28’s 4 wing mounts carry anti-tank missiles with a 3.7-mile vary, the Ka-52’s six onerous factors can carry 12 Whirlwind AT missiles with laser beam steerage and a variety of 6.2 miles every, or IGLA-V and IGLA-S anti-aircraft missiles.

To compensate for its heavier ordnance and digital tools, the quantity of armor and the capability of the cannon feed and journal had been all diminished on the Ka-52. The later introduction of a Klimov RK-2500 engine additionally improved the helicopter’s efficiency. Fight weight is nineteen,981 lbs. and vary 689.7 miles.

The Alligator in Ukraine

By the point of the Ukraine invasion, the Mi-28N and Ka-52N, each fashions boasting new radar and able to day or evening operations, had grow to be the mainstay fashions. Below regular subject circumstances, Russian helicopter missions mixed the Mi-28 and Ka-52 with the intention to play their respective strengths. The higher armored Mi-28N leads the duo within the armed reconnaissance position, whereas the Ka-52N backs it up with wider battlefield protection and offers escort for accompanying Ka-60 transport helicopters. In itself, the Ka-52 is quieter than its contemporaries as a result of every of its contrarotating rotors dampens the opposite’s noise. However, there have been incidents wherein extreme maneuvers prompted the flexing rotors to strike one another, bringing the chopper crashing to the bottom.

Attrition started to set in on the invasion’s first day, when a Ka-52 was broken and crash landed. One other did on March 2. On March 12, the primary one was shot down at Novomykolaivka, close to Kherson, adopted by one other on the sixteenth.

On April 5, a Ukrainian Stugna-P group rejoiced to see considered one of its home-produced guided anti-tank missiles strike a hovering Ka-52. One other Ka-52 went down on Might 5, killing its crew, and on Might 1 one other fell sufferer to a Stugna-P.

On June 4, the 128th Mountain Brigade claimed a Ka-52 on the northern entrance, and on the twenty seventh an Alligator was compelled to land after being hit by a British-supplied Martlet MANPADS (man-portable anti-aircraft protection system). On September 25, a Ka-52 was claimed by a MANPADS group armed with Soviet-built 9K38 Iglas. A Ka-52 was broken in Donetsk Oblast on August 15, and on October 13, the Ukrainians claimed at the very least 4 helicopters destroyed by anti-aircraft missiles.

The extra closely armored Mi-28s have fared higher than their backup. The primary loss occurred over Lugansk Oblast, to a Starstreak MANPADS. On April 26, the Ukrainians discovered a wrecked Mi-28N outdoors of Gostamel, close to Kyiv. Two extra fell over Kharkiv on Might 9 and 16, adopted by one other on June 12.

Not all of Russia’s losses had been within the air-to-ground duel between its helicopters and Ukraine’s motley crew of MANPADS. On the evening of Oct. 30-31, what the Russian press recognized (thus far) as saboteurs sympathetic to the Ukrainian trigger set 4 explosive costs at Veret Airport close to Pskov, 500 kilometers behind the southern traces in Russia. This Halloween prank destroyed two Ka-52s and badly broken two others that had withdrawn there for repairs, however a higher casualty was the embarrassment it left on the standard of Russian base safety.

On Nov. 5, the Ukrainians claimed to have shot down 12 Shahed bomber drones and one other two Ka-52s. As of this time, then, the Russian helicopter assist items have misplaced at the very least six Mi-28s and at the very least 23 of the 120 Ka-52s with which it started “particular operations.”

At $13.7 million every, the Ka-52’s deployment has confirmed expensive in additional methods than one. The Alligator could also be powerful, however any declare to invincibility is a lot Hokum.

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