Ka-50 Production Resumes

AFTER YEARS of inactivity, production of the Kamov Ka-50 is now getting under way again at the Progress aviation plant in Arsenyev. It had originally begun in 1991 and the type had been ordered into service by the Russian president on August 25, 1995. However, only nine Ka-50s were delivered, some joining the Army Aviation’s 344th Combat and Conversion Training Centre (CCTC) in Torzhok, and the rest being used by Kamov for development testing. Once the first batch had been delivered, production funding was cut, leaving another nine helicopters incomplete at Progress. According to Progress Director General Yuri Denisenko, continuous financing for the project was finally resumed in 2006. Under the new production programme, three of the mothballed Ka-50s will be completed this year. The first of these is already undergoing tests, having been flown for the first time at Arsenyev by Kamov’s test pilot Alexander Smirnov on August 18, following a six-year lull in Progress’ Ka-50 production.

The second new Ka-50 is to join the trials shortly, with the third to follow before the year end. Next year a further two will be completed, whilst the remaining four incomplete airframes are likely to be finished to Ka-52 standard, according to Yuri Denisenko. On August 26, Vice-Premier and Russia’s defence minister Sergey Ivanov told the media on a visit to the Russian Far East: «Under the governmental armament procurement programme, 12 Black Shark (Ka-50) helicopters are planned for procurement until 2015 in addition to the three recently completed».

Earlier, Ivanov had revealed who the new Kamov combat helicopters were designed for: «Under the governmental armament procurement programme, 12 such combat machines are to be procured. All are intended for the Russian MoD’s Main Intelligence Directorate to handle special missions, including those to combat terrorists».

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