The history of the Kamov export project began in 1997. Then the Turkish Ministry of Defense began to implement a program to upgrade the material part of the armed forces, including the military aviation. In accordance with the plans of the late nineties, implemented under the ATAK program, until 2010, Turkish army aviation was to receive 145 new attack helicopters of foreign development. Part of this equipment was planned to be ordered from the development company, but most helicopters should have been built at Turkish enterprises. This feature of the plans, as well as some other nuances in the end, had a great influence on the course of the entire competition and subsequent events.
Several companies submitted applications for the competition: the Russian Kamov, the American Boeing and Bell Helicopters, as well as the Italian Agusta and the European consortium Eurocotper. Turkish military men were offered AH-64D Apache Longbow, AH-1Z King Cobra, A129 Mangusta and Tiger helicopters. The Russian company submitted to the competition its new project called Ka-50-2 Erdogan ("Warrior"). As part of this project, it was proposed to create a promising attack helicopter built on the basis of the Ka-50 and Ka-52 helicopter units. In addition, to meet customer requirements, it was planned to equip a new helicopter with avionics of foreign production.
An early prototype of the Ka-50-2 based on the Ka-50. Photo Airwar.ru
The Russian Kamov firm became the lead developer of the project. It was to be responsible for creating the airframe, power plant and other main components, as well as for general coordination of the work. As the creator of radio-electronic equipment, the project involved the Israeli company Lahav Division, which was part of the IAI company. This company had considerable experience in the development of avionics and the modernization of existing aircraft and helicopters. In addition, shortly before the launch of the Ka-50-2 project, Lahav Division completed an order by the Turkish Air Force to modernize existing old-type aircraft.
A characteristic feature of the Russian proposal was the absence of a ready-made full-fledged helicopter of a new type. Ka-50-2 until the very end of the work existed only in the form of drawings, flying laboratories and mock-ups, which, among other things, could have some influence on the success of Russian participation in the Turkish ATAK tender. However, in March 1999 of the year, as part of the first stage of the competition, Kamov demonstrated to the customer a prototype, built on the basis of an existing Ka-50 type machine. This helicopter was equipped with a double cabin, borrowed from the Ka-52, and part of the new avionics. During this demonstration, several test flights were carried out by Turkish pilots.
In addition to the demonstration of the modified Ka-50 helicopter, the potential customer was shown documentation on the promising project Ka-50-2. According to the idea of the authors of the project, the Erdogan type helicopter was supposed to be a significantly modified version of the base Ka-50. While maintaining the airframe, the power plant and other basic units of the base helicopter, the upgraded car should have received a new two-seat cabin and a radically modified onboard avionics system. Also included were noticeable changes to the weapons complex, aimed at ensuring compatibility with the NATO standards used by the Turkish Air Force.
The prototype is based on the Ka-50. Photo Airwar.ru
The most noticeable external difference between the promising Ka-50-2 was to be the new two-seat cockpit with the accommodation of pilots side by side, borrowed from the Ka-52 project. Thus, in the original version, the Ka-50-2 helicopter should have a characteristic wide cockpit with a recognizable curved glazing shape. In the future, it should be noted, a new cabin version was developed, which better met the requirements of the customer.
The layout of the helicopter remained the same. All main units were located inside the fuselage with a tapered tail boom. The engines were placed on the sides of the fuselage, between them provided a place for the main gearbox. The design of the coaxial rotor with a diameter of 14,5 m remained the same. The developed keel and stabilizer with additional vertical planes are also preserved. In its place, there is also a large wing with arms suspension points. The number of the latter has been increased to six.
Minimal modifications of the airframe design, which actually affected only the front part of the fuselage, made it possible to keep the dimensions at the level of the base Ka-50 machine. The total length of Erdogan was 16 m, the maximum width (along the wing) was 7,34 m, the height was 4,95 m. The weight indicators also remained at the same level. The mass of the empty helicopter, according to calculations, was 7,7 t, the normal take-off - 9,7 t. The maximum take-off weight was set at the level of 11,3 t - 500 kg more than the base helicopter.
The new project involved the use of the existing TV3-117ВМА turboshaft engines with 2200 horsepower. With the help of such a power plant, the helicopter could reach a maximum speed of up to 300 km / h with a cruising 275 km / h. The coaxial rotor provided high maneuverability, and also allowed to move in the lateral or rear direction with a speed of up to 100 km / h. In addition, the power plant and the rotor gave a fairly high rate of climb - up to 780 m per minute. The practical ceiling was determined at the level of 6 km, static - 4,2 km. Combat range was 450 km, practical - 1160 km.
Full-size mock Ka-50-2 with a tandem cab. Photo Airwar.ru
The built-in armament of the Ka-50-2 helicopter initially had to consist of one 2-42 automatic gun of the 30 mm caliber on a mobile unit. Like weapon could be used with sufficiently high efficiency against enemy manpower and armored vehicles. In the future, a new version of the built-in weapons was developed that meets NATO standards and uses foreign-made weapons.
In accordance with the requirements of the customer, the nomenclature of the suspended arms was reworked. So, instead of Russian-made 80 mm unguided rockets, it was proposed to use 70-mm projectiles of the Hydra family. Anti-tank missiles "Whirlwind" were supplemented with American-made AGM-114 Hellfire products. To protect against airborne targets, the helicopter had to carry air-to-air missiles of the Igla-V and AIM-92 Stinger types with infrared homing heads.
The crew, consisting of two people, was to have at its disposal a developed complex of electronic equipment, providing search and detection of targets with the subsequent use of all available weapons. The on-board electronics complex, developed by Lahav Division, had an open architecture and was built according to existing foreign standards. The basis of the avionics was two central computers and two system buses (weapons and flight-navigation complex), corresponding to the Mil-Std-1553B standard.
As a primary means of observing and detecting targets, an optical-electronic HMOPS sighting system with gyrostabilization, day and night channels was proposed. In addition, it was proposed to include a laser rangefinder and a laser weapon control system. Optical electronic equipment was proposed to be installed on a mobile platform under the nose fairing of the fuselage and closed with a spherical casing.
To control the helicopter in difficult conditions, the crew had to use the Nav-FLIR navigation thermal imaging system. Also provided satellite navigation equipment, radio navigation system and a number of other means. Despite the main trends in the development of attack helicopters, the Ka-50-2 machine should not have been equipped with a radar station.
For the display of flight, tactical and other information in the cockpit, four liquid crystal screens were provided (two each for the pilot and the weapon operator). In addition, it was proposed to use helmet-mounted indication and target indication systems that increase the ease of use of weapons.
To protect against anti-aircraft and aviation weapons, the Ka-50-2 helicopter was to receive a set of relevant equipment. It was proposed to equip it with an electronic reconnaissance station, a laser radiation detection system, a heat finder and a device for ejecting false thermal targets. According to some reports, the helicopter could get an electronic warfare station.
In this form, the project Ka-50-2 Erdogan was proposed to a potential customer in the person of the Turkish armed forces in 1999 year. In July of the same year, the second stage of the tender was launched, during which Turkish specialists again examined the proposals of the contestants, as well as presented additional requirements. After analyzing the project, the customer handed over to Kamov a new list of requirements implying a number of noticeable changes in the design of the prospective helicopter. According to some data, these requirements were not put forward without the participation of the American side, which was promoting its equipment.
The customer was not satisfied with the cabin layout: the Turkish military wanted a helicopter with a tandem crew arrangement. In addition, they demanded that the 30А2 42 cannon be replaced with an 20 mm caliber gun using standard NATO ammunition. Some other wishes were also expressed concerning weapons, equipment and other features of the project.
Already in September, the Kamov company built and presented to the Turkish military a full-size model of an updated attack helicopter in September 1999. Double cabin, borrowed from the Ka-52, was replaced with a new unit with a tandem arrangement of pilots. Instead of an onboard installation with a 30-mm gun, a new integrated weapon system was proposed. Now a special turret with the 20-mm cannon of the French company GIAT was to be located under the starboard. During takeoff and landing, the turret was proposed to be removed into the fuselage and released outside in flight.
The preliminary results of the competition were announced in the summer of 2000. The best offer the Turkish military considered the American helicopter Bell Helicopters AH-1Z King Cobra, but it was noted that this decision is not final. According to statements by some officials, the American side had to agree with a number of Turkish conditions. Otherwise, the revision of the tender results and the choice of another winner were not excluded. Disagreements between the customer and the developer could be related to the transfer of a number of technologies. Turkey wanted to expand the production of new helicopters at its facilities, however, some units of the AH-1Z helicopter could not be produced outside the United States.
After a series of talks, the American side refused to transfer secret technologies to Turkey, which caused the signing of the contract for the supply and construction of AH-1Z helicopters. Subsequently, the Turkish military continued to select promising equipment for army aviation, but problems soon began. So, by the middle of the two thousandth, plans for the acquisition of helicopters had been reduced to 50 units. As a potential attack helicopter for the Turkish armed forces, several vehicles previously announced for the competition, including the Russian Ka-50-2, were still considered.
The result of cooperation between Italy and Turkey is a TAI / AgustaWestland T129 helicopter. Photo of Wikimedia Commons
Ultimately, it was decided to combine the efforts of AgustaWestland (Italy) and Turkish Aerospace Industries (Turkey) and create a new helicopter based on the existing A129 Mangusta. This resulted in the appearance of the TAI / AgustaWestland T129 helicopter, which first took off in the fall of the 2009 year. So far, T129 has gone into series, it is planned to build 60 helicopters. At the moment, only one sixth of this order is completed.
Russian helicopter builders hoped to receive the order until the very end, but in the end the contract was signed with an Italian company. All this time, the company "Kamov" did not stop work to improve the existing technology. So, in 2001, the first reports appeared on the new, upgraded version of the Ka-50 helicopter, equipped with a double cabin. In some promotional materials, this project appeared under the name Ka-54. A promising Ka-54 helicopter was planned to be offered to the Russian Ministry of Defense and foreign customers.
The Ka-50-2 Erdogan project did not end with the signing of a contract for the supply of production aircraft, but it helped domestic specialists to gain valuable experience in foreign tenders and cooperation with colleagues from other countries. In addition, the Erdogan project left some “material traces” of its existence: a prototype based on the Ka-50 equipped with a double cabin and some new equipment, as well as a full-size model with a tandem cabin and an original retractable turret. Due to the lack of an appropriate order, a full-fledged prototype of the Ka-50-2 helicopter with the full complement of the necessary onboard equipment was not built.
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