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Two upgraded Kamov Ka-52M Alligators to be produced in 2020


The first two upgraded Ka-52M « Alligator » attack helicopters have to be ready by the end of 2020. The deadline was fixed by the Defense Ministry. Serial helicopters are upgraded for trials and a contract for a hundred gunships is expected to be inked at Army-2020 forum, the Izvestia daily writes.

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Two upgraded Kamov Ka 52M to be produced in 2020 The first two upgraded Ka-52M « Alligator » helicopters have to be ready by the end of 2020 (Picture source: Russian MoD)


According to the Defense Ministry plan, the first two upgraded Ka-52M prototypes have to be produced in December 2020. Sources in the ministry and industry said Progress plant in the Far East is upgrading two serial helicopters for trials. The contract for Ka-52M upgrade was signed in April 2019. Two helicopters have to be created, tested and upgraded by October 2022. The Kamov company said in 2019 it had borrowed a 1.5bln-ruble loan for Ka-52 upgrade and trials.

Although R&D is ongoing, a major contract for Ka-52M is expected to be signed at the Army-2020 forum, later in August. In 2019, the Defense Ministry announced the procurement of 98 Mil Mi-28NM attack helicopters at the forum.

Official parameters of the Ka-52M contract are not disclosed, but it is likely to have the same scope as the Mi-28NM contract. Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko said there were plans to procure over 100 Ka-52Ms by 2027. “Engineers are constantly improving helicopter characteristics,” former commander of the 4th Air Force and Defense Army Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko said. “Ka-52 is a constructively successful helicopter. However, time goes on and modern electronic and navigational devices and sights appear. It is less costly to upgrade a helicopter than design a new one,” he added. Designers focus on helicopter protection. In particular, the cockpit is protected against guided missiles. The speed and altitude of helicopters make them vulnerable to air defense weapons.

Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Boginsky said the Defense Ministry had drafted Ka-52 modernization plan according to the Syrian combat experience. It exposed both strong and weak points of the helicopters designed in the last years of the USSR.

Ka-52M will get an upgraded optical-electronic system with a bigger detection and target identification range on the battlefield. Powerful electric generators will be installed to power sophisticated onboard electronics. Protection will be improved. Modern materials will make possible to not increase the weight of the helicopter.

Ka-52M and Mi-28NM will have unified communications, onboard defense and arms to simplify and decrease maintenance costs.

Ka-52M will have communications with drones. The crew will receive real-time information on nearby drones and see the images from their cameras on their own displays. Inthe future, a helicopter will control the assigned drone. It is necessary for better situation awareness of the crew and aiming of long-range missiles. Ka-52M will be able to fire new guided missiles at ground targets.

The Defense Ministry said Ka-52 properly performed in the Syrian desert against terrorists. In March 2016, Ka-52 gunships were for the first time seen in Russian Humaymim base. In April, they were engaged in Homs operation. The second liberation of Palmyra followed, as well as unblocking of Deir-ez-Zor and fighting in the Euphrates Valley. Ka-52 participated in combat for at least two years.

Footage from Syria demonstrated the engagement of guided and unguided weapons by the helicopters. Ka-52 for the first time fired long-range Vikh missiles to destroy adversary hardware and buildings day and night from a distance of 7.5 km.

The naval Ka-52K option could be tested in Syria. It is carried by warships, including amphibious assault ships. Several helicopters were on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier during 2016-2017 sortie and made combat flights from it, the Izvestia said.


Two upgraded Kamov Ka 52M to be produced in 2020 2 Kamov Ka-52 Alligator (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)


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