Alexander Mladenov about the helicopter Ka-52 Alligator

Renowned foreign aviation analyst Alexander Mladenov has devoted a long article attack helicopter Ka-52. As usual, the A2 is not too lazy to translate the interesting and informative text.

 

In December 2010, the leadership of the Russian Army Aviation announced long-awaited adoption of a combat helicopter Ka-52 "Alligator" and the first deliveries to combat units were held in May 2011

 

 

 

In August 2003, the then Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov has publicly confirmed the readiness of the Air Force to raise funds for the development of next-generation combat helicopter. Not one, but two military helicopters were due for replacement of worn and heavily loaded helicopters Mi-24. Informed observers initially thought that this statement is another PR-Russian military action or, at best, a sincere expression of the mystery of dreams general. But today, nine years after the event, a dream come true and Army Aviation, part of the Russian Air Force receives three types of combat helicopters: Ka-52, Mi-28N and Mi-35M.

 

Double coaxial helicopter Ka-52 (NATO code: «Hokum-B») is the most perfect of all Trinity. Originally planned for the Russian Air Force to buy a limited number of these helicopters, which were to support special operations forces, but in the end the number of Ka-52 in the Army Air Corps exceeded those of Mi-28N.

 

The Ka-52 can apply heavy system of guided and unguided weapons, equipped with modern (at least by today's standards, the Russian military electronics) clock surveillance and complex system of data exchange. This two-seater helicopter is marketed as being particularly effective in irregular warfare (counterinsurgency war — and much more suited for this than its predecessor, a single Ka-50 and Mi-24 dated), as well as a highly effective anti-tank and direct support troops.

 

The initial batch of 12 Ka-52 for the Army Air Corps was ordered in 2009, and in December 2010 the first four helicopters have been accepted by the customer and sent to the Center of the 344th Combat Use and combat training in Torzhok. These helicopters were used to train the trainers who will train the pilots of combat units. Another objective of the Center is to develop new tactics for the "Gator". The remaining eight helicopters from that batch was transferred in 2011 to the first drill squadron rearm for a new type and assigned to the 575th Air Base Chernigovka in the Far East. By October 2011 the squadron consisted of 12 helicopters. In the production of new helicopters are the party of 36 helicopters, four of which were produced in 2011, the last helicopter out of the party to be transferred to the customer by the end of 2013

 

It was reported that at the end of 2011 ended the state joint tests of Ka-52 helicopter, and that is completely bringing the avionics, which includes a millimeter radar "Crossbow-52" around the clock gyrostabilized opto-electronic system GOES-451, and a fully functional board defense "Vitebsk". While none of these modern systems has not been installed on the first batch of helicopters were delivered late 2010 — early 2011, there are plans to install them on the helicopters.

 

The predecessor of the Ka-52

 

The Ka-50 (NATO code «Hokum») first flew in 1982, and in the early 1990s. He was selected as the new attack helicopter for the Russian Air Force, which was intended to complement, and then replace the Mi-24. The Ka-50 was adopted in 1995, the same year the first helicopter entered service in TsBPiPLS Torzhke. Soon the funding ended, resulting in the 1990's. Was probably made only four Ka-50.

 

Another four helicopters were delivered in 2008 and 2009. Two Ka-50 were used in Chechnya during the period from December 2000 to March 2001 The main reason why the helicopters were sent there, was the fact that the Kamov design bureau and the Air Force wanted to evaluate soosnuyuuskhemy new combat helicopter in real combat conditions. Helicopters flew in Chechnya 14 sorties, during which flew more than a hundred hits on target, having spent 929 80-mm unguided rockets and 16 30mm rounds, and three anti-tank "Vortex 1". All issued ammunition hit their targets.

 

Development

 

Development of a basic two-seat version of the single-seat Ka-50 began in 1994 under the direction of chief designer Kamov design bureau SV Mikheev. He is known as the father of the Ka-50 is the long running chief designer in the modern Russian aviation industry, leading the Kamov design bureau for over 40 years.

 

A prototype of the Ka-52 with serial number "061" made its first flight 25 June 1997 under the supervision of the pilot Kamov design bureau Smirnov. The helicopter was used extensively for a variety of tests, and participated in advertising campaigns. Therefore, the composition of sensors and avionics could change several times a year. In 2003, he completed flight tests on the state to corroborate the allegations flying characteristics. In 2006, the Russian Defense Ministry has allocated funds for the development of various helicopter systems, as well as the creation of a production line for AAC "Progress" in Arsenyev.

 

The second prototype of the Ka-52 ("062"), built on the "progress", first flew in June 2008 and the third prototype ("063"), which became the first pre-production helicopter made its first flight in October of the same year . It was followed by three more copies (№ № «051-053»), and all the helicopters took part in the final stage of state joint tests helicopters, which were carried out with the participation of the Russian Air Force Kamov design bureau and has successfully completed 20 November 2011 This gave the opportunity to begin full-scale production of helicopter equipped with radar data exchange system and two types of anti-tank.

 

Scheme coaxial screws which specializes KB Kamova allows the helicopter to have smaller dimensions and weight compared to conventional circuits helicopters. When compared with a coaxial helicopter and the usual scheme of identical weight and the same engine power, you can see that the size of the helicopter coaxial 35-40% less. The absence of a tail rotor drive means no tail rudder and the corresponding transmission that extend beyond the slew rotor. This is an important factor for the safety of the flight and combat survivability.

 

EA Petrosyan, deputy chief designer of the Kamov design bureau, explained: "When comparing the level of security coaxial helicopters and classical schemes should take into account numerous factors such as reliability, durability, resistance to fatigue phenomena and combat survivability. It should be noted the importance of the "human factor" in ensuring the safety of the flight. In this regard, the Ka-coaxial circuit 52 has advantages due to the simplicity of control, maneuverability and higher aerodynamic performance as compared to the classical scheme of helicopters. Moreover, the loss of the keel or rudder, for example, because of a hard landing in autorotation, no major impact on safety. "

 

In the design of the Ka-52 initial task was to achieve maximum commonality with the Ka-50. As a result, it reached 85%, and the first batch of serial Ka-52s were built using brushed Ka-50 on the fuselage and components.

 

Protection for the crew and placing pilots 'side by side'

 

The Ka-52 is the only combat helicopter in the world, in which the applied placement crew "side by side". This is done by generalizing
the practice test pilots Torzhkovskaya TsBPiPLS having vast experience of flying and combat use of the Mi-8 ("side by side") and Mi-24 ("tandem"). Recognized as chief pilot of the Kamov design bureau and a former military test pilot A. Popeye, having logged more than 7700 hours, supports the view of his predecessors: "I can confirm that when pilots are placed side by side, the reaction is faster, more convenient and easier than with a tandem scheme. In most cases, they understand each other even without words, using only gestures — the so-called "team spirit". " His opinion is also shared by veterans with combat experience of the Federal Security Service, in the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya is performed in complex terrain is extremely successful night flights on a modified Mi-8MN, armed with missiles and the ability to apply the clock. They appreciated the location of the pilots 'side by side' due to better control over the situation and is much more effective exchange of information in the course of intense missions in the search and destruction of guided weapons are well camouflaged targets.

 

The cockpit Ka-52 is different from the Ka-50. The curved side glazing cockpit Ka-52 can withstand the bullets hit a 12.7-mm, extra protection is provided by overhead side armor plates. Additional protection is provided by placing the pilots side by side, thus they are close to each other from the fragments of shells and missiles flying sideways. This cruel-sounding principle is the brainchild of chief designer S. Mikheev. This approach increases the likelihood that at least one member of the crew survive in suicide bomb the enemy side of the helicopter. In the traditional arrangement of pilots risks are much higher.

 

According to Mikheyev, the nose of the helicopter is protected from the shells of 20 mm caliber, and he claims that the weight of armor in a set of Ka-52 is less than having the same protection scheme tandem helicopter. Additional protection covers the most vulnerable parts of the helicopter: for example, the propeller blades kept hitting the 20-mm shells. Other security measures include experienced pilot ejection seats K-37-800 (also installed on a single Ka-50), which provide both simultaneous escape from the helicopter pilots. During a forced landing crew chances of survival are increased by the combination of a rigid chassis and high impact energy absorbing seats.

 

Improved sighting system

 

At Ka-52 equipped with an integrated on-board electronic equipment, open-architecture "argument-52" (also known as avionics-52), which is based on the interface GOST R 52070-2004 (equivalent to standard Mil-Std-1553B). At the disposal of the pilots are five color LCD displays on the dashboard, plus a smaller one monitor between the legs in place of the left pilot. There is also a light on the background of a windshield HUD-31 pilot for the left, which is used to pilot helicopters and weapon guidance for the course. Helmet-mounted target designation system for the guidance of onboard weapons under development, but until now the Russian electronics industry has not been able to establish such a system comparable to Western ones.

 

Gyro stabilized electro-optical system GOES-451 production UOMZ installed in the nose of the helicopter and is equipped with a TV camera (wide and narrow field of view), thermal imager, laser rangefinder-designator and laser irradiation sensor-guided missile systems. The final version of the Ka-52 to the left of the GOES-451 is set smaller "ball" of the system TOES-520, which has a TV camera and thermal imager, used for night flights. Interior lighting allows you to use night vision goggles, the Ka-52 pilots provided night vision goggles 3rd generation GEO-OHB-1-01K, developed by "Geophysics-NV".

 

Radar "Crossbow-52" X-band (wavelength — 8 mm) developed by "Fazotron-NIIR" and is used to fly at night and in poor weather conditions, ensures the detection of obstacles and allows for a flight to ultra-high-rises and in the mode of terrain mapping and identification purposes. Radar has the ability to display a moving target and can be used at a minimum height of 10 to 50 meters.

 

According to Mikheev, "the integration of radar went surprisingly smoothly thanks to the great experience of working with radar, which our company has accumulated during the development of maritime helicopters Ka-25 and Ka-27. We gave up on the idea of placing a radar radome nadvtulochnom as radar installation in the bow gives a definite advantage in the mass of the helicopter. For example, there are no restrictions on the size of the antenna array and the weight and size characteristics of instrumentation radars. In addition, there is much less vibration is felt. "

 

Flight testing of the radar "Crossbow-52" on the first prototype of the Ka-52 in 2004 confirmed the design characteristics. Although there is no possibility of automatic radar target identification, this mode can be added in the future. According to the pilots, the display mode of moving targets is also function well.

 

The guided missile

 

According to Mikheev, compared with the Ka-50 Ka-52 can be used much more extensive arsenal. To do this, the helicopter has four main point of suspension, and when to hang twin launchers "Sagittarius" with missiles "air-air" Igla-V, they are mounted in an extra pair of suspension points near the wingtips.

 

Of the "air-land" include an affordable and proven ATGM "9M120-1 Attack" and "Whirl-1". "Attack" is used as a package, consisting of six containers. Initially the system was a radio command guidance, but then it was replaced by a laser that uses the GOES-451. The Ka-52 is basically a modification will apply 9M120F equipped with high explosive / thermobaric warhead to destroy manpower in the open and under cover, which has the firing range 6 km.

 

ATGM 9A4172 "Vortex-1" has a range of up to 10 km, and is the main weapon to defeat armored targets. The missile used with pendant mounting AAP-6 for six missiles (the helicopter can carry up to two AAP-6), it is equipped with a tandem warhead will pierce armor up to a meter for active protection system. Anti-tank is equipped with a proximity fuze and impact, depending on the type of target pilot can choose the type of fuse. When using a proximity fuse "Whirlwind" can be used as an effective weapon in the class "air-to-air", capable of hitting a target moving at a speed of up to 800 km / h

 

Another anti-tank system that can be installed on the Ka-52 is a two-stage long-range missile "Hermes-A", which is a test launch of the Ka-52 for the first time took place in 2003, This is a very large system — transport and packaging container has a pancake-3 , 5 meters high and weighs 107 kg. The system can be used on a "shot, watched corrected" and "fire and forget". It is equipped with a tandem high-explosive warhead. Besides bronetseley, anti-tank can be used to destroy the fortified shelters, ships and aircraft. On the Ka-52 can be suspended for up to four missiles "air-air" 9M39 "Igla-V", equipped with infrared seeker and used in launchers on two rockets.

 

Uncontrolled, but amazingly accurate weapon

 

Unguided weapons in the arsenal of the Ka-52 is the 80-mm and 122-mm unguided rockets that are launched from the missile 20 and 5 blocks. According to Papaya, 80-mm unguided rockets S-8 proved very accurate weapon when used with Ka-50/52 through a combination of stable platforms and precision aiming system. According to him, "when you start with the Ka-52 unguided rockets inexpensive C-8 can not be considered a weapon that is used on the area, now it
is high-precision weapons." Usually NURS C-8 is used at a distance of 1.5 km.

 

The helicopter can also use bombs weighing 250 kg and 500 kg, container KMGU-2, and hanging UPK-23-250. In addition to the helicopter has a 30-mm gun 2A42 cannon installed on NPPU-80 with reduced mobility (supplied with 460 rounds). The complex is equipped with a hydraulic drive, which allows you to deflect a gun on 3,5 ° up and 37 ° down. Traverse is carried out by turning the whole helicopter, but the speed of its spread is comparable to the speed of rotation of gun installation of the Mi-28N. NPPU-80 is a very accurate weapon in the mobile and fixed modes. According to Popeye, "we are in the ordinary course of training to reach the level of accuracy of 1.2-1.4 angular mils, ie, at a distance of 1000 meters shells hit the target size of 1.5 m X 1.5 m."

 

2A42 cannon was chosen because of its reliability, especially in dusty and dirt, as well as with the ability to use the ammunition of the Army. Its rate of fire is 900 rounds per minute in rapid-mode and 200-300 shots in a slow, as a mode of firing single projectiles. Due to the high velocity of the projectile (980 m / s) and its relatively large mass, which leads to a lot of kinetic effects, 2A42 is one of the world's most powerful guns mounted on helicopters, if not the most powerful. At the distance of 1500 meters armor piercing projectile has a 15 mm at an angle meeting of 60 °. The maximum effective range of 4,000 meters.

 

The future looks promising Alligator

 

In 2011, the Ministry of Defence decided to purchase an additional number of the Ka-52, signed a contract for 140 helicopters, the last of which must be delivered in 2020 Maximum production capacity of "Progress" is 24 helicopters per year (in 2011 it was released 12 helicopters , in 2012 and 2013. issue should be increased to 15 units). As of September 2011 'Progress' released 17 Ka-52 (including two prototypes and pre-series three helicopter), and 12, appeared to be in various stages of assembly.

 

The Ka-52 is also considered as a new attack helicopter for use with the UDC "Mistral". The first prototype of the Ka-52 was tested on the deck of the French Mistral UDC during his visit to St. Petersburg in December 2009 Marine version of the Ka-52K will be equipped with folding blades and wings, strengthened landing gear, crew life support system in the sea and anti-corrosion treatment fuselage and equipment. On it in the bow will also install new radars range review and targeting The Kh-35. In August 2011, the corporation "Fazotoron-NIIR" announced the development of a new radar with phased array Ka-52K-based radar "Zhuk-AE". By testing the first prototype is planned to start in 2012

 

Air wing each of the four UDC "Mistral" will consist of eight and eight of combat air assault helicopters. Russian Navy will need at least 40 new combat helicopters, and, according to Mikheyev, the first serial Ka-52K is planned to supply the troops in late 2014 — early 2015., Which must be matched to the date of transfer of the first UDC "Mistral".

 

He also believes that the Ka-52 has good export prospects, adding that it can be installed new equipment and avionics Western model. Start of operation in the Ka-52 military aircraft Russia will significantly improve the chances of signing export contracts and Russian media have reported having an interest in the helicopter from many countries.

 

 

 

Author Alexander Mladenov 

 

 

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