According to the decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers from 16 December 1976, the work on the creation of a new-generation combat helicopter was officially started. His main task was to be the fight against enemy armored vehicles, fire support for ground forces, escorting his own assault helicopters and fighting with enemy helicopters.
Army aviation it was 100% equipped with Mi transport and combat helicopters, and when creating a promising combat helicopter, which was supposed to replace the Mi-24, for some time the design bureau named after M.L. Mile. But the main competitor of the "Milevts", the collective of the OKB named after N. I. Kamov, did not waste time in vain. Based on the experience of creating deck-based Ka-25 and Ka-27 in Lyubertsy near Moscow on the basis of the Ukhtomsky Helicopter Plant, work began on the design of a new generation combat vehicle with a coaxial propeller circuit.
Of course, the coaxial scheme has both advantages and disadvantages. Among the minuses - the relative bulkiness, complexity and high cost and weight of the coaxial carrier system. It is also required to exclude an overlap of screws rotating towards each other when performing energetic maneuvers. At the same time, the coaxial scheme compared with the traditional single-screw has a number of significant advantages. The absence of the tail rotor can significantly reduce the length of the helicopter, which is especially important when deck-based. Power losses on the tail rotor drive are eliminated, which allows increasing the thrust of the rotors, increasing the static ceiling and vertical climb. In practice, it has been proven that the helicopter carrier system of a coaxial circuit with an equal power plant power average 15-20 is, on average, more efficient than a single-rotor helicopter. At the same time, the vertical rate of climb is higher by 4-5 m / s, and the increase in altitude reaches 1000 m. A helicopter with a coaxial carrier system is capable of performing maneuvers that are impossible or very difficult to repeat on a helicopter of a traditional scheme. So, the helicopters of the “Kamov” company demonstrated the ability to make energetic “flat” turns with large slip angles, in the entire range of flight speeds. This not only improves the landing characteristics and allows you to compensate for gusts of wind, but also makes it possible to quickly orient the sights and weapons towards the target. Due to the more modest geometrical dimensions of the helicopters of the coaxial scheme, with the same flight weight and power density, they have smaller moments of inertia, which gives the best maneuverability in the vertical plane. The absence of a vulnerable tail rotor with intermediate and tail gearboxes and control rods has a positive effect on increasing survivability.
Compared with the “Milevskaya” machine of the traditional scheme and layout, the design of the “Kamovsky” helicopter contained a large novelty ratio and a number of fundamentally new technical solutions that were not previously used not only in domestic, but also in world helicopter engineering. The design of the helicopter, which received the working designation B-80, from the very beginning was carried out in a single version. This provoked fierce criticism of the opponents of the project, but the designers of the “Kamov” company hoped that, thanks to the use of highly automated aiming-flight-navigation complex and advanced long-range guided weapons, it would be possible to surpass all existing and future combat helicopters in combat effectiveness. In order to provide tracking of the detected targets and targeting missiles on them without the pilot's participation, the helicopter, which later received the designation Ka-50, installed an all-day television automatic aiming system "Shkval". The television image stabilization system and the automatic tracking device, based on the principle of memorizing the visual image of the target, has a narrow and wide field of view, angles of deflection of the line of sight: by elevation from + 15 ° - −80 °, in azimuth ± 35 °. Target detection in the automatic scanning mode is possible at a distance of up to 12 km. Having discovered and identified the target on a television screen, the pilot captures and begins to approach. After the transition to the automatic tracking of the target to reach the permitted range, the rocket is launched. In the cockpit of the helicopter indicator is installed on the background of the windshield of the ILS-31. The composition of PrPNK "Rubicon" integrated helmet helmet of the pilot "Obzor-800". Targeting is carried out by turning the head of the pilot within ± 60 ° horizontally and −20 ° ... + 45 ° vertically. The Squall sighting system was also tested on an anti-tank modification of the Su-25T attack aircraft. As well as on attack aircraft, the main weapons "Kamovsky" helicopters were to be long-range supersonic anti-tank "Whirlwind" with laser-guided. ATGM 9K121 "Whirlwind" with a guided missile 9М127 transferred to the tests in the 1985 year.
In 80-s of the last century, "Whirlwind" had very high characteristics and had no analogues. The defeat of small targets was possible at a distance of 10 km. With a missile flight speed of up to 610 m / c, the distance in 4000 m it flew over 9 with. This allows you to consistently fire several targets and helps reduce the vulnerability of the helicopter during the attack. The range of missile launches exceeded the effective zone of destruction of the then army mobile air defense systems of the NATO countries: ZAK M163 Vulcan, AMX-13 DCA and Gepard, MIM-72 Chaparral, Roland and Rapier. Moreover, during exercises conducted at the end of 80-x, when performing conditional attacks at extremely low altitude and masking themselves against the terrain, carriers of the Vikhr ATGM system often managed to replay the Tor system, which was the latest at the time.
Launch ATGM with Ka-50
The cumulative-fragmentation warhead of the Vikhr anti-tank missile system is capable of penetrating 1000 mm homogeneous armor. Thanks to the use of the leading cumulative charge, modern Tanksequipped with "reactive armor". The main purpose of guided anti-tank missiles is the destruction of enemy armored vehicles and partly small-sized ground targets such as individual firing points and observation posts. However, during the tests it turned out that the Shkval equipment is capable of stably tracking and illuminating objects in the air with a laser rangefinder-target designator, while the 9M127 ATGM can be aimed at low-speed air targets flying at a speed of up to 800 km / h. Thus, a combat helicopter with full-time armament, in addition to its main task, was able to actively combat enemy combat helicopters, turboprop transport aircraft and A-10 attack aircraft. To destroy air targets ATGM "Whirlwind" are equipped with a non-contact fuse with a radius of 2,5-3 m.
ATGM "Whirlwind", a NAR B-8B20A and 30-mm gun on a Ka-50 helicopter
In addition to anti-tank missiles, the helicopter had to carry the entire range of unguided weapons already used on the Mi-24. But thanks to the highly automated method of using guided weapons and unguided rockets is almost the same. Different are displayed only aiming marks, which is a sign of the selected weapon. The action algorithm is the same; therefore, the pilot does not experience any additional difficulties when launching a NAR.
The designers managed to achieve high accuracy of shooting from the onboard 30-mm gun 2А42. This was largely due to the installation of the gun in the strongest and toughest place in the fuselage - on the starboard side between the sub-gear frames. The coarse aiming of the cannon takes place “by plane” - the helicopter's body, and the precise aiming in the aisles of 2 ° to the left and 9 ° to the right and + 3 ° ...- 37 ° vertically - by a stabilized hydraulic drive connected to the tele-machine of the Shkval complex. This makes it possible to compensate for fluctuations in the body of the helicopter and to achieve high accuracy of fire. The Ka-50 outperformed its rival Mi-28 by approximately 2,5 by the accuracy of shooting. In addition, on the "Kamov" car, the ammunition of the gun was 500 shells, which was 2 times more than the Mi-28. The gun has a variable rate of fire and selective power, with the possibility of choosing the type of ammunition.
Cockpit security paid close attention. The total weight of the armor exceeded 300 kg. Armor was included in the power structure of the fuselage. To protect the cabin used armored plates from the combined spaced aluminum-steel armor. The cabin sides withstand the impact of 20-mm projectiles, and the flat glass of the cockpit with armor-piercing rifle caliber bullets. A single cabin made it possible to reduce the weight of the armor and get a noticeable gain in the mass of the helicopter and improve its flight characteristics. An important factor was the reduction in inevitable losses during the course of hostilities among crew members, and the possibility of reducing the cost of training and maintaining flight crews. In the event of a helicopter receiving critical combat damage, the rescue of the pilot was provided by the K-37-800 ejection system. Before the ejection took place shooting blades rotors.
Traditionally, the helicopter was equipped with passive defenses: sensors for warning of laser irradiation and a receiver for warning of radar radiation, devices for shooting IR traps and dipole reflectors. The car also implemented the entire available set of measures to increase combat survivability: armor protection and shielding of important components and systems less important, duplication and separation of hydraulic systems, power supply, control circuits, ensuring transmission transmission efficiency for 30 min without lubrication, filling fuel tanks with cellular polyurethane foam damping hydraulic shock, their retrofit, the use of materials that maintain their performance in case of defeat of the structural elements of force. The helicopter has an active fire extinguishing system.
The helicopter with a long streamlined aircraft fuselage, since the first prototype appeared, made a great impression on those who had the opportunity to see it. It combined the fact that it had never before been used in the practice of world-class helicopter manufacturing on one sample: a single-seat cabin with an ejection seat, a retractable landing gear, and coaxial rotors.
The first copy of the B-80
The first flight in the circle of an experienced B-80 with onboard number 10 took place on July 23 1982. This copy, designed for testing new units, choosing the optimal variant of tail empennage and evaluating flight performance, had “non-native” TVZ-117В engines, the prototype lacked weapons and a number of standard systems. In August, 1983, the second copy was passed for testing. On this machine, the gun was already mounted and the upgraded TVZ-117ВМА engines were installed in the take-off mode 2400 hp. The second copy of the airborne number 011 held working off PrPNK "Rubicon" and weapons.
In 1984, comparative tests of B-80 and Mi-28 began. Their results became the subject of discussion at a special commission created from the leading experts of the aviation industry and experts from the Ministry of Defense. After a rather lengthy and sometimes heated discussion, most of the experts leaned toward the "Kamov" machine. Among the advantages of the Ka-50, there was a greater static ceiling and high vertical rate of climb, as well as the presence of a promising long-range missile system. In October, the order of the Minister of Aviation Industry I.S. Silaeva on the preparation for serial production of B-1984 in the Primorsky Territory at the Progress Arsenyevsky Plant.
It would seem that a new combat helicopter should have a cloudless future. But a large proportion of fundamentally new technical solutions, the unwillingness to use a number of electronic systems and guided weapons on combat vehicles slowed down the process of testing and fine-tuning the Ka-50. So, despite all the efforts, it was not possible to bring the low-level Mercury television target complex, intended for combat use at night, to an acceptable level of efficiency. Also, the fact that the Whirlwind ATGM and laser guidance equipment was not built in series played a role. For the tests, single specimens of 9М127 missiles collected at pilot production were supplied. Due to the low reliability of the Squall sighting system in control firing, she often refused.
One of the first cab options Ka-50
Initially, the Ka-50 was supposed to fight at any time of the day and in adverse weather conditions. But the designers of the helicopter overestimated the possibilities of the Soviet electronics industry. As a result, we managed to bring the avionics to the acceptable level, providing piloting of the helicopter day and night in simple and complex meteorological conditions, but effective combat use is possible only during the day. Thus, through no fault of the helicopter developers, it was not possible to fully unleash the full potential of the machine.
Only in 1990, the decision of the Commission on Military-Industrial Issues of the Council of Ministers of the USSR was issued on the production of an installation batch of Ka-50 helicopters. In May, the 1991 of the year at the Progress plant in Primorye began testing the first helicopter built here. The official adoption of the Ka-50 took place in August 1995.
According to advertising information distributed at aerospace exhibitions, a helicopter with a maximum take-off weight of 10800 kg with an internal fuel reserve of 1487 kg has a flight range of 520 km (with PTB 1160 km). The maximum speed in horizontal flight is 315 km / h, on a dive - 390 km / h. Cruising flight speed is 260 km / h. Ka-50 is able to fly sideways at a speed of 80 km / h and back at a speed of 90 km / h. The static ceiling of the flight is 4200 m. At the external nodes of the suspension can be placed combat load weight up to 2000 kg. At the same time, the number of B-8B20А blocks for 80-mm NAR, compared with the Mi-28Н, with the possibility of an ATGM suspension, is more than 2 times. The total purely ATGM “Whirlwind” on board can reach 12 units. In addition to anti-tank missiles, a NAR and a cannon, air combat missiles P-73 can be suspended to fight an air enemy. The Ka-50 included an X-25ML laser-guided missile, which significantly increased the helicopter’s ability to destroy high-security, highly sensitive and critical targets. For transportation of cargo on the external sling, the helicopter is equipped with an electric winch.
Ka-50 is able to perform some aerobatic figures that are inaccessible to other helicopters of the classical scheme. So on tests the combat maneuver "funnel" was worked out. Its essence was that at a speed from 100 to 180 km / h the helicopter carried out a circular movement around the target, flying sideways with a negative pitch angle 30-35 °. At the same time, the target can be constantly kept in the field of view of the onboard surveillance and sighting systems.
A simpler piloting technique compared with the Mi-24 and Mi-28 and high maneuverability played a bad joke with the Kamov machine. The ease of control and confidence in their abilities dull the pilots caution, which in some cases led to serious consequences. And the helicopter remained obedient until the last moment, without warning about the danger. The first Ka-50 disaster occurred on 3 on April 1985 of the year. While preparing for the helicopter show to the highest military-political leadership of the USSR, test pilot Yevgeny Laryushin crashed due to entering outrageous modes on a vehicle with onboard number 10. During the investigation of the accident, it turned out that it had happened on a working machine, because the pilot had exceeded the permissible negative overload when performing an unsteady spiral reduction at a speed of less than 40 km / h. After studying the materials of the investigation of the heavy flight incident, the Air Force experts recommended making changes to the control system to “grip” the controls when the blades were approaching dangerously and the helicopter was brought to unacceptable values of roll and overload. For the same reasons, the maximum operational overload was limited to the value of 3,5 g, although the car could withstand without consequences and more. The maximum permissible speed was also seriously reduced, although during the dive trials the helicopter accelerated to 460 km / h. The flight manual limits the allowable angle of heel to ± 70 °, pitch angle ± 60 °, and angular rate of travel along all axes by ± 60 degrees / s. On tests Ka-50 repeatedly performed the "dead loop", but later this aerobatics figure was considered too dangerous.
However, these security measures and restrictions were not enough, the second disaster of the Ka-50 occurred 17 June 1998. The serial combat helicopter under the command of Major-General Boris Vorobyev, Chief of the Center for Combat Use of Army Aviation, crashed due to the impact of the propeller blades. Despite the vast experience of the pilot and his highest qualification, the machine was put into supercritical flight mode. After the destruction of the carrier system, the helicopter, diving at an angle of more than 80 °, collided with the ground. Due to the low altitude of the flight, the pilot did not manage to eject and died. This tragic event caused great damage to the development program of Kamov war machines, and was used by opponents of the Ka-50 to discredit it. There are still claims that the coaxial carrier system is unsuitable for use on military helicopters because of its high vulnerability and the possibility of overlapping screws when performing intensive maneuvering. However, comparing the carrier coaxial system and the characteristics of the tail boom with the tail rotor on helicopters of the classical scheme, it is absolutely obvious that the latter’s vulnerability is much higher. In addition, the coaxial propellers can only be cleared in flight modes, which are guaranteed to destroy the helicopter design with tail rotor screw.
The first public presentation of the Ka-50 took place in the 1992 year. In January, 1992, a report was read out at an international symposium in the UK, which revealed some details regarding a combat helicopter. In February of the same year, the Ka-50 was demonstrated to representatives of the defense departments of the CIS countries at the exhibition of aviation equipment at the Machulishche airfield in Belarus. In August, 1992, one of the prototype prototypes took part in demonstration flights on the Zhukovsky near Moscow. In September, the serial Ka-50 was shown at the international air show in the British Farnborough. One of the prototypes with onboard number 05 starred in the feature film "Black Shark". Filming was mainly conducted at the Chirchik training ground, not far from Tashkent. During the years of the Afghan war, pilots of army aviation underwent training there. After the film was released, the name “Black Shark” literally “stuck” to the helicopter.
According to the information published by the Russian Helicopters holding, taking into account the experienced prototypes of the B-80, the X-NUMX Ka-17 helicopters were built. The helicopter was formally in the series before the 50 year. It is clear that such an insignificant number of combat vehicles could not significantly increased the shock potential of the Army Aviation. However, two Ka-2008 from Torzhok as part of a combat strike group (BUG) took part in the hostilities in the North Caucasus.
The purpose of the formation of BUG was to work out the concept of using the Ka-50 as a single combat complex. In addition to the combat helicopters, the Ka-29VPNTSU reconnaissance target was also involved in the combat tests. Before being sent to the zone of the “counter-terrorist operation”, the avionics and helicopter protection were modified. At the end of 2000, the Ka-50 and Ka-29VNSTUs arrived at the Grozny (Northern) airfield. After familiarization flights and reconnaissance of the area in January, BUG pilots began flying with the use of weapons of destruction against ground targets. Flights for combat use were carried out in groups: a pair of Ka-50 and Mi-24, as well as a pair of Ka-50 with the participation of Ka-29. In difficult mountain conditions with unpredictable, rapidly changing weather, the Ka-50 showed their best qualities. Both high thrust-to-weight and controllability and the absence of a long beam with tail rotor screw, which significantly facilitated piloting in narrow gorges, had an effect. One of the Ka-50 during the launch of the NAR at the extremely low altitude received combat damage to the rotor blade, but was able to safely return to the home airfield.
Most of the targets were in remote mountainous terrain, at an altitude of up to 1500 m. At the first stage of combat use, the main targets for strikes were: militant concentration sites, camps, dugouts, shelters and ammunition depots. At the final stage of combat tests, the Ka-50 flew to the “free hunt”, conducting a search for targets using their own means of reconnaissance. During the sorties, 80-mm NAR C-8 and 30-mm guns were mainly used. The use of ATGM "Whirlwind" was quite rare. This is due both to the lack of worthy targets in the form of enemy armored vehicles, and to small stocks of guided missiles of this type. During the performance of combat missions during 49 departures, 929 NAR C-8, almost 1600 30-mm projectiles and 3 ATUR "Whirlwind" were spent.
During combat tests in the North Caucasus, the viability of the concept of using automated PrPNK on single-seat combat helicopters, which removed a significant load from the pilot, was confirmed. The experience of the Ka-50 combat operations in Chechnya showed that the PrPNK Rubicon allowed the use of the entire range of airborne weapons in one approach for different purposes. To effectively hit targets in narrow mountain gorges and other hard-to-reach places, it was necessary to use all the maneuverability capabilities of the helicopter and its altitude characteristics. In this case, the high reliability of the coaxial helicopters and their combat survivability was confirmed.
The main drawback that emerged from the results of the combat mission to Chechnya was the impossibility of effective work in the dark. The task of all-day combat use was set up even at the issuance of a technical task at the end of 70-x, but the practical implementation of this direction began only in the middle of 90-x. In Ka-50H in 1997, one of the serial helicopters was remade. The first flight of the converted machine took place on March 5 1997 of the year.
Soon, a helicopter with night gear paired with the Ka-50 from the Center for Combat Use of Army Aviation recovered to the international exhibition of weapons YUEX'97, which ran from 16 to 20 in March in Abu Dhabi. According to a number of media reports, the Victor thermal imaging equipment manufactured by the French company Thomson was used at the night modification of the Black Shark. The import nodes were included in the national combined optical-electronic system “Box-50T”.
The equipment of ECO “Box-50T” was mounted on a gyro-stabilized platform in a moving ball with a diameter of 640 mm. The spherical head mounted in the nose compartment of the fuselage above the optical window of the standard day-to-day laser-television complex “Squall” has one large and three small windows. OES "Box-50T" at night provides the detection of single objects of armored vehicles at a distance of at least 7 km and pointing weapons from 4,5-5 km. In addition to the optoelectronic equipment on the helicopter, known as Ka-50Sh, the installation of the Arbalet radar station, satellite navigation system, liquid crystal display with the output of a digital terrain map was provided. The nomenclature of the armament of the daily modification does not differ from the serial Ka-50, but at the same time the possibilities for using the weapon at night have been significantly expanded. In the future, despite the encouraging test results, the night modification of the Black Shark was not serially built, and the results obtained were used on the Ka-52 two-seater.
17 June 2017 of the year turned 35 years since the first flight of the prototype (B-80) of the Ka-50 helicopter. But, unfortunately, the machine, which had outstanding combat and flight characteristics, was built in a very limited series. The formal adoption of the "Black Shark" into service coincided with the time of "economic reforms" and a total reduction in defense programs. Despite the enormous interest from foreign intelligence services, overseas buyers traditionally prefer to buy cars built in large batches, which cured the main "children's sores." In addition, as already mentioned, the Whirlwind guided missile complex also remained of limited production, and there were no guarantees that the Ka-50 supplied for export would be equipped with the necessary quantities of missiles in the future. According to rumors leaked to the media, in the 90s, Western intelligence agencies attempted to acquire one helicopter for "the purpose of familiarization." At that time, the most modern weapons, including the latest fighters and air defense systems, left the CIS and Russia for the West. Fortunately, our “western partners” did not manage to “hook” the “black shark”.
According to the Military Balance 2016, there are currently no Ka-50 military aviation helicopter shelves in the military aviation regiments. Several vehicles in flight condition are located on the territory of the Ukhtomsky helicopter plant and at the 344-th Center for combat training and retraining of flight personnel of the Russian army aviation in Torzhok. Where used in various kinds of experiments, for the development of weapons systems and avionics, as well as for educational purposes.
9 September 2016 of the Year in the Far Eastern Arsenyev on the Square of Glory a monument to the Black Shark Ka-50 helicopter was solemnly opened. The basis for the monument served as a glider helicopter, built at the aircraft factory "Progress" more than 20 years ago.
Despite the scanty order for the construction of the Ka-50 for the Russian Armed Forces and the failure of supplies for export, the management of the Kamov company made considerable efforts to advance its combat helicopter. In particular, to participate in the tender announced by Turkey in the 1997 year, work was started on the creation of a double modification Ka-50-2 Erdogan. The Turkish Ministry of Defense, up to 2010, in the framework of the ATAK program, wanted to get 145 modern anti-tank helicopters. In addition to the Russian company Kamov, applications for participation in the competition were submitted: the European consortium Eurocotper, the Italian Agusta Westland, the American Bell Helicopters and Boeing.
Since the Turks wanted to get a double car with avionics and armament of the Western standard, the Israeli firm Lahav Division, which was part of the company Israel Aerospace Industries, was recruited as a subcontractor. In March, 1999, the company "Kamov" showed the customer a prototype, built on the basis of the Ka-50 helicopter. In fact, it was a semi-finished product, with a double cabin, borrowed from the Ka-52, and partially equipped with new avionics. Alterations of the airframe design mainly affected the front of the fuselage, which made it possible to keep the dimensions of the Ka-50. In addition to the cockpit, the most noticeable external change was a larger wing with six points of suspension. Flight data compared with the single-seat prototype did not change much. The maximum take-off weight, which was increased by 500 kg, was planned to be compensated after the installation of TV3-117ВМА engines with HP 2200 power. A double helicopter with such a power plant could reach a maximum speed of 300 km / h, cruising - 275 km / h.
At the request of the customer, the helicopter armament has undergone processing. Instead of Russian Whirlwind guided anti-tank missiles, AGM-114 Hellfire ATGMs, 80-mm NAR C-8 ATGMs were supposed to replace 70-mm Hydra missiles, and the powerful 30А2 wanted to replace the 42-mm gun with a 20-mm gun, XNUMX-mm XNUMX-XNUMX wanted to replace the XNUMX-mm gun with a XNUMX-mm XNUMX-mm gun XNUMX-XNUMX. The crew had to have a developed complex of electronic equipment, providing search and detection of targets with the subsequent use of all available weapons. The avionics developed by Lahav Division had an open architecture and was built according to existing Western standards. The main means of observing and detecting targets was to be the HMOPS optical-electronic sighting system with stabilized day and night channels. The composition of the onboard equipment was supposed to introduce a laser range finder-tseleukazatel.
Layout Ka-52-2 with tandem crew layout
From the very beginning, the Turks showed themselves to be very capricious partners. The requirements for the appearance of a combat helicopter changed several times during the competition, which implied a number of noticeable changes in the design. At a certain stage, the customer did not arrange the cockpit layout: the Turkish military expressed a desire to get a helicopter with a tandem crew arrangement, like in western-made combat helicopters. In September 1999, the Turks were presented with a full-size model Ka-50-2, which met the requirements. After that, there was a question about financing the construction of a real prototype. However, it soon became known that the American AH-1Z King Cobra from Bell Helicopters was selected as the winner of the competition. After that, the Turkish side began to demand the establishment of licensed production at home and the transfer of a number of secret technologies. In this case, the customer was ready to pay for the construction of only 50 machines. The Americans considered such conditions unacceptable, and the deal fell through. As a result, the Turks chose the most budget option presented by the Italian company AgustaWestland. A combat helicopter, created on the basis of A129 Mangusta, should be built at the enterprises of the Turkish company Turkish Aerospace Industries. A total of 60 prospective anti-tank helicopters are planned.
At the design stage of the single Ka-50, it was planned to create a two-seat command vehicle unified with it according to the airframe with an improved onboard reconnaissance complex, designed to coordinate the actions of the battle group of attack helicopters. The production of the prototype double began in 1996 at the Ukhtomsky helicopter plant. For this purpose, the glider of one of the serial Ka-50 was used. On the single-seater car, the front part of the fuselage was dismantled, instead of which a new one was docked, with the arrangement of pilot jobs “shoulder to shoulder”. Ka-52 inherited about 85% technical solutions applied to Ka-50. In order to select the optimal variant, a two-seat machine was used to test several aiming-viewing systems. The helicopter with the side number 061, painted black and with a large inscription on board the "Alligator", was first presented to the public 19 in November 1996 of the year.
The first copy of the Ka-52
The crew enters the cockpit through the flashlight flaps that open up. Helicopter controls are duplicated, which allows Ka-52 to be used for training purposes. Compared to the Black Shark, the Alligator’s weapons and sighting equipment were seriously changed. Initially, the SSE "Samshit-E" was installed on the two-seater car in the upper part of the fuselage just behind the crew cabin. By its characteristics, this apparatus is in many respects similar to the one that was tested on the Ka-50Н. In the future, the two-seater car received more advanced avionics, allowing it to operate at any time of the day.
The adjustment of the Alligator avionics to the level that would suit the military continued until the 2006 year. In 2008, simultaneously with the end of the first stage of state testing of the Ka-52, it was decided to issue an installation batch. The armament of the army aviation helicopter entered the 2011 year. According to Military Balance 2017, the Russian armed forces have more than 100 Ka-52. According to Russian sources, the total ordered 146 "Alligators".
In the process of refining the latest series of helicopters, a multifunctional complex of the new generation "Argument-2000" with an open architecture was installed. It consists of: two-channel radar RN01 "Crossbow-52", PNK-37DM flight and navigation system, round-the-clock aerobatic system TOES-520 with a spherical head under the nose of the cockpit, communications equipment BKS-50. All the necessary information is displayed on the multifunctional color displays and helmet-mounted indicators of the pilots.
The radar "Arbalet" provides data for sighting and navigation systems, informs about air targets, warns of obstacles when flying at low altitude and dangerous meteorological phenomena. According to the advertising brochures of the Kamov company, a radar with an antenna in the nose is installed on the Ka-52 variant with the most advanced avionics. It is designed to search and attack ground targets, as well as to perform low-altitude flight in difficult weather conditions and at night. Another radar channel with a supra-antenna antenna provides a circular control of the air situation and notifies the crew about rocket launches. Under the nose of the "Alligator" is the GOES-451 optoelectronic system with thermal imaging and TV cameras, a laser range finder, a target indicator, an ATGM guidance system and TOES-520 instrumentation for night flights. The detection and recognition range of targets during the day is 10-12 km, at night - 6 km.
The unguided and artillery weapons of the Ka-52 remain the same as on the Ka-50. But in part of the guided anti-tank weapons was taken a step back. One of the main advantages of the Ka-50 over the Mi-24 and Mi-28 in the past was considered the possibility of using long-range and high-speed guided missiles "Whirlwind". However, it was not possible to adjust the mass production of the Vikhr ATGM. On serial Ka-52 installed ATGM 9K113U "Storm-VU" with ATGM "Attack". In contrast to the early modifications of the Sturm with the radio command guidance system, new missiles can be used from carriers with instrumentation of a laser-beam control channel. The Alligator’s arsenal includes 9М120-1 missiles with a tandem cumulative warhead designed to combat armored vehicles and 9М120Ф-1 volume-detonating warheads. The maximum firing range - 6000 m.
The desire to maintain the security of the cabin, components and assemblies at the level of the single-seater, the installation of the new avionics and the workplace of the second pilot led to an increase in the take-off weight of the Ka-52 helicopter, which in turn could not but affect the flight data. The normal take-off weight of the two-seater helicopter increased by 50 kg compared to the Ka-600, and the static ceiling fell by 400 m. The increase in the weight of the vehicle and the increase in drag resulted in a drop in maximum and cruising airspeed. In order to compensate for the deterioration of the main characteristics of the helicopter, the designers did a great job. So, after blowing through the wind tunnel, the shape of the front part of the cabin was chosen, which in its frontal resistance became close to a single Ka-50.
The speed and the ceiling of the helicopter were able to be tightened after installing more powerful turboshaft VK-2500 engines. Thanks to the implemented improvements, the Ka-52 is capable of performing the same figures in the air as the Ka-50.
In June 2011, a contract was signed between Russia and France for the construction of two universal landing ships-helicopter carriers of the Mistral type. The composition of the air group of each ship was supposed to include 16 combat and transport-assault helicopters. Naturally, only Ka rotorcraft could claim this role in our country. In the past, the Ka-1174 transport and combat helicopter was created for basing on the Soviet BDK, pr. 29, which, in addition to delivering cargo and landing, was able to provide fire support and combat enemy armored vehicles. In 2011, the Navy had three dozen Ka-29s that could be overhauled and these machines after repair were still able to be in active operation for 10-15 years. And here is a modern deck-based attack helicopter in the Russian navy did not have.
Therefore, simultaneously with the conclusion of the contract for the Mistrals, the accelerated development of the deck version of the Ka-52 began. Already in September, 2011 showed footage from the exercises in the Barents Sea, during which the helicopter, designated Ka-52K Katran, landed on the helicopter platform of the Vice-Admiral Kulakov AX 1155. The purchase order for the 32 deck helicopters was made in April 2014. The construction of the Ka-52K is being carried out at the Progress plant in Arsenyev. 7 March 2015, the first flight of the Ka-52K shipborne helicopter built at the Arsenyev Aviation Company Progress named after NI Sazykin took place.
The main characteristics of the Ka-52K are inherited from the base model, but due to its specific purpose there are a number of differences in the avionics and design. To save space on the ship bearing coaxial screws and wing consoles are made folding. The chassis is reinforced, the main components and assemblies are sea anti-corrosion treatment. The avionics and armament of the carrier-based combat helicopter as a whole had to correspond to the capabilities of the most advanced Ka-52 modification. However, there is information that "Katran" on high-lift consoles will be able to carry anti-ship missiles X-31 and X-35, as well as target designation of the coast-based missile systems "Ball". But to implement these plans, the helicopter must be equipped with an on-board radar with a range of detection of surface targets of at least 200 km. It is possible that the Ka-52K will also receive additional opportunities for the use of anti-submarine weapons.
There is reason to believe that the main part of the Katrans, built to be placed on the Mistrals that were not delivered to Russia, will be sent to Egypt. As you know, this country has become a buyer of the French UDC. Information about the Egyptian order is contradictory: a number of sources state that 46 Ka-52K should go to the country of pyramids. However, this number is several times greater than the needs of the Egyptian Navy, and it is likely that we are also talking about helicopters that are designed by the Air Force. The contract worth about $ 1,5 billion provides, in addition to the supply of helicopters, also after-sales service, the purchase of spare parts and the training of pilots and ground personnel. The export value of one Ka-50 is estimated at $ 22 million, which is slightly higher than the cost of the Mi-28H, but significantly lower than the price of ApH Longbow AH-64D (Block III).
In March 2016, several Ka-52 reinforced the Russian air force in Syria. After adaptation to local conditions and missions for additional exploration purposes, starting from April, they are used in various combat operations.
Observers note the significant role of the "Alligators" in the battles for the liberation of Palmyra. Helicopters mainly inflicted massive strikes with unguided rockets on militant positions. But in some cases, the use of ATGM against Islamist vehicles and armored vehicles at night was noted. The TAKR air group “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov”, which carried out a military campaign to the Syrian coast, also had two deck-mounted Ka-52K.
Today, combat helicopters in the Russian army are not only a powerful means of fire support, but also, perhaps, the most effective anti-tank force. At the same time, a paradoxical situation has arisen in our country, when, simultaneously with combat helicopters of the Mi-24 family, two new types are operated with close fire capabilities: Mi-28Н and Ka-52. Although back in Soviet times, Ka-50 was declared the winner of the competition announced as part of the creation of a promising combat helicopter, the leadership of the “Mil” firm, using its connections in the Ministry of Defense and the government, managed to push through the adoption of Mi-28Н, which has no advantage before the "Kamov" machines. The situation is aggravated by the fact that if the onboard aiming and viewing systems of the new helicopters are significantly superior to the similar equipment of the “twenty-two”, then the complexes of guided and unguided weapons are practically the same. As in Soviet times, the main anti-tank weapons installed on serial domestic helicopter gunships are the anti-tank systems of the Sturm family. It is surprising that the Russian modern helicopter gunships with highly sophisticated surveillance and sighting systems and mm-range airborne radars in the ammunition do not have guided missiles with semi-active radar seekers. As is known, ATGMs with radio command and guidance along the “laser path” are relatively cheap, but their use, as a rule, is possible only for visually visible targets. Radar-guided missiles have the best capabilities while firing multiple targets; they are subject to less restrictions on use in difficult weather conditions and at night.
To be continued ...
The Military Balance 2016