Navy and aviation industry continues a large-scale program of repair and modernization of transport and combat helicopters Ka-29. After restoration and updating, the equipment returns to operation and strengthens naval aviation. In recent years, the fleet of several units has been updated in this way, and soon the improved Ka-29s will replenish new units.
From project to operation
The future Ka-29 was created in the seventies; The first flight of the prototype took place in 1976. Serial production was launched in 1984 at the Kumertau Helicopter Plant. The equipment went off the assembly line until 1991, after which the production was suspended for an indefinite period - practically forever, new helicopters were no longer produced.
Already in 1985, the naval aviation of the USSR Navy received the first production Ka-29s and began their development. Then, measures were taken to develop methods of combat use. In August 1987, the new helicopter was officially adopted. By that time, the customer managed to get a significant part of the helicopters, due to which it was possible to equip several units.
In total in 1984-91. 59 serial Ka-29s were built. The bulk of them, 46 units, entered the Navy. Other helicopters were transferred to other structures of the Ministry of Defense. In particular, marine helicopters were studied at the 344th Center for Combat Use of Army Aviation (Torzhok).
In naval aviation, the Ka-29 served in combat units of the Northern, Baltic and Pacific fleets. The training units worked as part of the Black Sea. Subsequently, after the collapse of the USSR, this led to the division of technology between the two countries. Most of the helicopters remained in Russia, another 5 units. crossed to Ukraine.
Features of operation
A new type of transport and combat helicopter was created to support the actions of the marine corps. Ka-29s were supposed to deliver fighters to the shore and provide fire support with the help of cannon-machine gun, missile and bomb weapons. The passenger cabin accommodated 16 fighters with weapons; 4 kg of aviation weapons were located at 1850 points of the external suspension.
Depending on the task, helicopters could work from coastal airfields or from the deck of ships. The main carriers of the Ka-29 were considered large landing ships, pr. 1174 "Rhinoceros". Each of the three BDKs of this type could carry 4 helicopters - with the possibility of landing 64 soldiers. Also, helicopters flew from aircraft carriers of various types. Experiments were conducted with the operation of the Ka-29 on ships with a single take-off platform. They were turned off in 1987 after a crash.
At the turn of the eighties and nineties, difficult times came for the armed forces in general and naval aviation in particular. First, the intensity of operation of various equipment fell, including Ka-29 helicopters. Then out of combat fleet The main part of aircraft-carrying ships capable of receiving military transport helicopters was launched. In addition, the collapse of the country led to the division of naval equipment.
All these events hit the state of the Ka-29 fleet and its prospects. Helicopters with special capabilities turned out to be unnecessary - and there was no opportunity to maintain their technical condition. The equipment was idle idle and its condition was constantly deteriorating. In the late nineties, the fleet transferred to the Internal Troops up to 15-16 helicopters.
Due to downtime and lack of proper maintenance, the state of helicopters was constantly deteriorating. The Navy was compelled to withdraw them from the military personnel with statement in reserve or with full write-off. As a result, by the end of the 10s, no more than 20-XNUMX cars remained in service.
It should be noted that even against the backdrop of the difficult events of the nineties, work continued on the development of helicopter technology. So, in 1997, two flying laboratories based on the Ka-29 were put out for testing, designed to develop techniques for the combat use of the attack helicopter Ka-50. One of them was carrying non-standard weapons, the other received a sighting and navigation system from the Ka-50 and became an airborne observation and target designation. In January-February 2001, a combat strike group consisting of two Ka-50s and the only Ka-29VPNTsU passed tests in real conditions of the Chechen conflict.
At the beginning of the two thousandths, it became known about the planned return of the Ka-29 helicopters to full service. It was proposed to repair and upgrade 10 vehicles for basing on the expected Mistral landing ships. To meet modern requirements, helicopters had to receive new electronic equipment and modern weapons. However, the detailed composition of the new electronic complex was not disclosed.
The first shipments of the repaired Ka-29 were handed over to the fleet in 2016-17. Now she serves in the Pacific and Baltic fleets. Then they carried out repairs and modernization of the Northern Fleet helicopters. According to The Military Balance, due to such events, the number of transport-combat helicopters in the ranks is close to three dozen.
The other day, Izvestia announced the expansion of the areas of operation of the Ka-29 helicopters. Starting next year, they are planned to be involved in the protection of the country's Arctic borders. Such tasks will be divided between parts of the Northern and Pacific fleets. Ka-29s from the 830th okclpl Northern Fleet will operate in the western regions; they will give other lines to the 317th mixed air regiment serving in Kamchatka.
Return to service
The transport and combat helicopter Ka-29 is quite old - its creation was completed in the early eighties. However, it is still not outdated and retains good potential. Timely modernization by replacing individual components and assemblies allows you to continue operation for a long time with the full realization of all the design capabilities.
In fact, the real "flying infantry fighting vehicle" is returning to full operation, capable of serving the marine corps in the special conditions of its operation. Ka-29 is not the only domestic helicopter capable of landing and supporting the landing, but it has important advantages over other models. So, the marine Ka-29 is more compact than the Mi-8 family, although it carries similar weapons. From the combat Mi-24, it compares favorably with the larger capacity of the landing cockpit. In addition, the Ka-29 is adapted to work on the sea and on the deck of the ship.
BDK "Ivan Rogov" with a helicopter on the aft platform, 1985
Such a rotorcraft platform, equipped with a modern sighting and navigation system and other equipment of the latest models, as well as compatible with current aviation weapons, is of great interest to the Navy. This interest has already led to the emergence of several orders and the modernization of drill equipment.
The process of returning the Ka-29 to service was launched several years ago and gives real results. The re-equipment of several units working in the main strategic areas has been carried out. In the near future, it will be possible to ensure the presence of military transport helicopters in the new region, in the Arctic. There they will be able to complement other equipment with other capabilities.
In general, история Ka-29 helicopter service is very interesting. A specialized machine with wide capabilities appeared on the eve of difficult times, which did not immediately realize its full potential. Nevertheless, after several decades, the necessary capabilities were found - and the Ka-29 will again be able to show itself in the best way.