Mi-24 combat helicopter, which was the main striking force of the army aviation, absolutely not suitable for placement on large landing ships. Therefore, in the early 70s, the Kamov Design Bureau, which had become the main designer of helicopters for the Navy at that time, began to create a transport and combat helicopter in the interests of the Marine Corps. According to customer requirements, the new machine was supposed to have the ability to deliver ashore marine units with a personal weapons. For fire support and combat with enemy armored vehicles, the helicopter had to carry small-arms weapons, blocks of unguided rocket projectiles, bombs, and anti-tank missile systems.
It should be noted that in the second half of 60, the Kamov Design Bureau proposed a Ka-25F combat helicopter armed with NAR blocks, suspended cannon containers and the Phalang ATGM. But by that time there were no landing ships suitable for its deployment in the USSR Navy. A Ka-25 armed with an ATGM could have turned out to be a nice light anti-tank helicopter, but the command of the ground forces only chose the Mi-24, then created, which corresponded to the modern concept of a “flying BMP”.
Ka-25 with NAR UB-16 blocks
With the construction of the ocean fleet in the USSR, the question arose of increasing the combat potential of naval infantry units. One of the ways to solve this problem was the creation of large landing ships, on which it was possible to base universal transport and attack helicopters capable of delivering to the landing zone of marines and everything necessary for conducting military operations on the enemy coast. In addition, the helicopter had to solve the tasks of fire support for the landing, and also with the help of guided missiles to deal with tanks and destroy enemy firing points.
Since it was too expensive and too long to create a new helicopter from scratch, they decided to build it on the basis of the anti-submarine Ka-27, which made the first flight in December 1973 of the year. Due to the fact that the helicopter, acting in the interests of the marines, was to fly under enemy fire, measures were taken to increase combat survivability. The cockpit that was extended compared to the Ka-27 was covered with armor providing protection against rifle-caliber armor-piercing bullets. TVZ-117ВМА engines, pump controllers and hydraulic systems were also partially protected. The total mass of the armor was 350 kg. To prevent the explosion of fuel tanks in the event of their defeat, they are filled with polyurethane foam, and to prevent fuel leakage when the chamber is pierced, they have self-retracting protection. In order to reduce thermal visibility, the installation of screen exhaust devices of engines is provided. From the very beginning, a station for optoelectronic interference and a cassette for ejection of heat traps were provided for in the anti-missile complex with the IK GOS.
The attack weaponry of the helicopter, designated Ka-29, consists of the built-in speed gun GSHG-7,62, 7,62-mm caliber, the 30-2 42-cannon suspension container, the UNK-23-250 universal gun with 23 -Ha -HN-8 universal gun cannons. 20В80А with 8-mm C-500 missiles, free-fall bombs weighing up to 2 kg, incendiary tanks, KMGU-8 or 9 ATGM 114X9 anti-tank missile complex Shturm-M. On several helicopters of the later series, the Ataka ATGM with 120М2000 missiles was installed. The weight of a combat load can reach XNUMX kg.
Block NAR and ATGM on the Ka-29
The movable machine gun, the fire from which the navigator-operator is in the “stowed” position, is closed in the embrasure by a sliding shutter. When 1800 rounds of ammunition, its maximum rate of fire is 6000 rds / min.
Mobile installation GSHG-7,62 on Ka-29
When performing percussion missions against lightly armored targets and field-type fortifications, the 30-mm 2А42 cannon can be used in the outboard container with 250 rounds of ammunition. This is one of the most powerful aircraft guns of this caliber. It has high reliability. With an initial projectile speed of 960-980 m / s, good firing accuracy is ensured. At a distance of 1,5 km, an armor-piercing tracer with a mass of 400 g at an angle 60 ° to the normal penetrates the 15 mm steel armor. An armor-piercing projectile weighing 304 g, launched at an initial speed of 1120 m / s, penetrates 25 mm armor under the same conditions.
Ka-29 with suspended cannon container
As on the Mi-24, in the Ka-29 crew, in terms of the use of armament, there is a division of duties - the pilot fires stationary cannons on the external sling, launches NAR and bombs. At the disposal of the navigator-operator mobile machine-gun installation and guidance equipment ATGM. The crew, as in the Ka-27, sits "shoulder to shoulder." Under the fuselage in the nose is located fairing sensors electro-optical fire control system. To communicate with ground units, a universal aviation command radio station of the VHF / DtsV-bands P-832М “Eucalyptus” is installed on the helicopter, which, if there is a special set-top box, can operate in a closed mode.
Flight data Ka-29 are approximately on par with the army helicopter Mi-8МТ. With a maximum take-off weight of 11500 kg, the marines transport and combat helicopter is capable of operating at a distance of up to 200 km from the carrier ship. Maximum flight speed 280 km / h, cruising - 235 km / h. The static ceiling is 3700 m, which greatly exceeds the high-altitude capabilities of the shock Mi-24. The helicopter can take 16 paratroopers with personal weapons or 4 stretcher and 6 seated wounded or 2000 kg of cargo in the cabin or 4000 kg on the external suspension. Thanks to folding coaxial screws and the absence of a beam with a tail rotor, the helicopter is ideal for shipboarding. In the stowed position, the rotor blades almost fit into the dimensions of the airframe in length, height and width.
With a slightly worse security, which is a consequence of the creation of the Ka-29 on the basis of the anti-fighting and rescue Ka-27, which is armored without the need, the combat helicopter of the marines surpasses the Mi-24 in a number of combat characteristics. Compared to the Mi-24P, also armed with an 30-mm cannon, the firing accuracy of cannon containers and unguided rockets on the Ka-29 is higher. The same applies to guided anti-tank weapons.
Start NAR C-8 with Ka-29
Thanks to the use of a much more stable coaxial rotor scheme, it was possible to reduce vibration and, as a consequence, to improve the accuracy of shooting. Ka-29 was the first of the domestic military helicopters, where a laser rangefinder with a fixed axis of sight was installed and successfully used. On the Mi-24, this did not work out and had to use the correct, much less accurate, method of measuring the distance to the target.
The very nature of the coaxial rotor scheme gives the Ka-29 a low level of vibration. As a result of oscillations of the upper and lower screws mutually compensate each other, due to the fact that the maxima of the amplitudes of vibrations of one with a certain shift coincide with the minima of the other. In addition, there is no low-frequency transverse vibration generated by the tail rotor on the helicopter of the coaxial circuit, so the Ka-29 has fewer errors when aiming the weapon.
Ka-29 was the first of the domestic combat helicopters capable of making a flat turn in the entire range of flight speeds. For Mi-24, such a maneuver is unacceptable because of the possibility of destruction of the transmission, tail boom and tail rotor. Due to the high maneuverability of the Ka-29, superiority was ensured over all combat helicopters of its time. Ka-29 has the ability in the shortest possible time to take a position advantageous to attack the target while maintaining the high accuracy characteristics of the weapon. Pilots who had previously flown on the Mi-8 and Mi-24, noted the high maneuverability and obedience in the management of the Ka-29.
Thus, the low-volume Ka-29 fleet was more suitable for use as a tank destroyer than a massive Mi-24 combat helicopter, which is ensured by better maneuverability and simpler piloting technology, with a higher vertical rate of climb and overload. Ka-29 is able to better, faster and safer to occupy an advantageous position for launching anti-tank missiles. A number of solutions worked out during the creation of the Ka-29 transport-combat helicopter were subsequently used on the Ka-50 and Ka-52. The adoption of the Ka-29 into service significantly increased the combat stability and landing speed of the Soviet marines. In addition to accomplishing transport-assault missions, helicopters could provide fire support and fight tanks, significantly surpassing the Yak-38 vertical take-off and landing attack aircraft in combat effectiveness.
Serial production of the Ka-29 began in 1984, at the helicopter plant in the city of Kumertau. Before the collapse of the USSR, 59 machines were built. Unfortunately, the data on how many helicopters out of the total number built were equipped with anti-tank missiles could not be found.
Formally, the Ka-29 was intended for basing on the large landing ships of the Rhino 1174 Ave. The first BDK Ave. 1174, named "Ivan Rogov", was built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad in 1978 year. Four decker helicopters could work with this type of BDK. At present, the head BDK pr. 1174 is cut into metal, and two more ships of the same type are “in reserve” and will most likely not be returned to service.
BDK pr. 1174 "Ivan Rogov"
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the existing Ka-29 was used mainly to perform routine transport and passenger flights in the interests of the Navy. The remaining 5 helicopters in the Crimea went to Ukraine. After the reduction of parts of the marines, in the course of measures to "reform" and "optimize" the armed forces, several naval helicopters handed over to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Target helicopter Ka-29VPNTSU
In December 2000 - January 2001 of the Chechen Republic as part of a combat experimental group in combat operations against bandit formations took part 2 Ka-50 and one Ka-29ВПНЦУ, converted from transport and combat into a helicopter of observation and targeting.
In the process of refinement and conversion into reconnaissance target designator, the Ka-29 armament remained. To use the Ka-29 as an air point of guidance and targeting to a helicopter, a complex of automation and communication equipment was installed, as well as the aiming flight-navigation system Rubicon. As a result, Ka-29 VNTSU received the ability to control group actions of helicopter gunships in the air, and communications in closed mode with the command posts of the Air Force and the Ground Forces based on the continuous exchange of information in real time.
To reduce vulnerability to MANPADS, the helicopter was equipped with heat traps and screen-exhaust devices. Before the flight to the combat area, the identification marks and vehicle identification numbers were painted over. The most notable difference between the Ka-29VPNTSU and the Ka-29 was the optical window of the PrPNK Rubikon under the nose of the fuselage.
Helicopters with a coaxial propeller scheme from the very beginning demonstrated the best ability to operate in adverse weather conditions and mountainous terrain. "Kamov" machines compared to the Mi-8 and Mi-24 were more resistant to sudden gusts of wind. The absence of the tail rotor significantly facilitated piloting in narrow gorges, and the ability to turn literally in one place also affected.
Most of the targets were located in remote mountainous and wooded areas, on the slopes, in the gorges and on the tops of the mountains at an altitude of up to 1,5 km. The Ka-29VPNTSU not only corrected the actions of other helicopter gunships while striking the camps and militant locations, ammunition depots, dugouts, shelters and firing points, but also participated in the destruction of targets. A total of 29 firing was performed with the Ka-29 VLSTU and the C-184 projectile 8 was expended.
Equipment NAR C-8 of B-8В20А units on Ka-29ВПНЦУ helicopter
Often, sorties were carried out in bad weather. Sometimes passes pass by fog, and flights had to be carried out along the gorges, which was not an obstacle to the performance of combat missions. Although the main forces of the militants were scattered at the time of arrival in the North Caucasus, the Ka-29 and Ka-50, the enemy had an active fire resistance, and there was a real danger of running into the line of an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun or a MANPADS missile.
In Chechnya, the Ka-29VPNTSU, in conjunction with the Ka-50, made 27 combat missions. The actions of the Mi-24 combat helicopters were also adjusted. In general, despite some shortcomings caused by the rush in the installation of equipment and the lack of funding, Ka-29VPNTSU during the fighting in the North Caucasus has established itself positively. Pilots Ka-50 and Mi-24 noted that due to better information awareness and external target designation from the airborne command post, the effectiveness and accuracy of strikes against ground targets increased significantly. The safety of flights has also increased and the vulnerability of militants’s air defense assets has decreased. The crew of the Ka-29VPNTSU, being outside the zone of effective fire, using optoelectronic means of observation and targeting, determined the coordinates of the targets and measured the distance to them. If necessary, the reconnaissance and target designation helicopter could not only warn the crews of percussion vehicles about the danger, but also independently suppress the anti-aircraft installations that had manifested themselves.
Despite the fact that the Ka-29VPNTSU well manifested itself in the course of hostilities, everything is known about the two machines of this modification. The Army Aviation Command, taking into account the experience of using Kamov helicopters during the fighting in Chechnya, decided to develop the theme of two-seat specialized helicopter gunships, although command and reconnaissance vehicles would not prevent them, especially in various "anti-terrorist" operations. Apparently, the rejection of the further construction of the Ka-29VPNTSU is associated with a banal lack of funds. As is known, the creation of the Ka-29VPNTSU was mainly carried out at the expense of the means of the Military Scientific and Technical Complex named after Kh. N.I. Kamov and the state actually withdrew from financing this topic.
In 2012, the modernization of the 10 helicopters began as part of the formation of the Mistral-type UDK wing. A total of 8 Ka-29 and 8 Ka-52K should have been based on Mistral.
As of 2016, the Navy of the Russian Federation as a part of the Baltic Fleet, the Northern Fleet and the Pacific Fleet nominally 28 Ka-29. However, more than half of these machines needed repair. At the end of 2016, domestic media reported that 155 Ka-6 was overhauled for the 29 of the marine brigade of the Pacific Fleet. There is also information that repair of the Ka-29 for the Black Sea Fleet will be carried out at the Sevastopol aircraft repair plant, but apparently, these vehicles will be used from coastal airfields, as there are currently no suitable landing craft for their deployment in the domestic fleet.
To be continued ...
The Military Balance 2016
Articles from this series:
Aviation against tanks (part of 1)
Aviation against tanks (part of 2)
Aviation against tanks (part of 3)
Aviation against tanks (part of 4)
Aviation against tanks (part of 5)
Aviation against tanks (part of 6)
Aviation against tanks (part of 7)