KA-52M Attack Helicopter Completes First Test Flight

  • The production of the updated helicopter became possible after the modernization of the production sites of AAK Progress.
  • The armament of the modernized Alligator is unified with the recently introduced Mi-28MN.
  • After the preliminary factory tests are completed, state tests of the Ka-52M will begin.

Russia announced that the upgraded Ka-52M attack helicopter made the first flight a success. The upgraded  helicopter received weapons unified with the Mi-28MN and new radar equipment. Representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation reported on the first flight of the modernized Ka-52M attack helicopter.

Rostec, officially the State Corporation for Assistance to Development, Production and Export of Advanced Technology Industrial Product Rostec, is a Russian state-owned holding conglomerate headquartered in Moscow that specializes in consolidating in strategically important companies, mainly in the defense and high-tech industries, by assisting in the development, production and export with the ultimate goal of capitalizing them and bringing them to an initial public offering (IPO).

The prototype of the updated Alligator was lifted into the air on the basis of JSC AAK Progress, named after N. I. Sazykin (part of the holding Russian Helicopters, as part of the state company Rostec).

The head of the Ministry, Denis Manturov, noted that the production of the updated helicopter became possible after the modernization of the production sites of AAK Progress. This enterprise, located in the Primorsky Territory, is the main manufacturer of the Ka-52.

The Ka-52M is equipped with new optoelectronic equipment that extends the effectiveness and range of target detection. It also received an upgraded radar system with AFAR. The gun mount, with the 30-mm 2A42 gun, was equipped with an electronic drive, which makes it easier to aim and increases the accuracy of shooting. The armament of the modernized Alligator is unified with the recently introduced Mi-28MN.

In addition to the upgraded weapons, the Ka-52M uses new heating elements in the propeller blades, which increase the effectiveness of fighting their icing, and all lighting technology of the helicopter is now based on LEDs. This is complemented by improved cabin ergonomics, which will have a positive impact on the efficiency of pilots.

After the preliminary factory tests are completed, state tests of the Ka-52M will begin. Originally, the information pertaining the development of the new Alligator was made available in June. At the time, Russia announced additional modernization to the Ka-52M helicopter.

Manufacturing of the first Ka-52 airframe began in mid-1996. In February 2018, the Russian Ministry of Defence expressed an interest to purchase additional 114 Ka-52s within the new State Armament Program for 2018–2027.

Mil and Kamov intends to spend almost 153.5 million rubles ($2.2 million) on two copies of the prototype modernized Ka-52M “alligator” with new weapons, as well as on their testing. All work should be completed by the end of 2022.

At the same time, experts suggested that the Ka-52M could become a carrier of the “Product 305” cruise missiles. Specialists of the Mil and Kamov national helicopter building center are responsible for the development of the vehicle.

It should be noted that the Ka-52 attack helicopter was a development of the Soviet Ka-50 project. The car, developed by specialists of JSC “Kamov” first took to the air in 1997, but its production was able to establish only in 2008.

The Ka-52’s armament consists of a gun mount and suspension elements, which can include blocks of unguided aircraft missiles, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guided missiles. The Russian armed forces has 127 ship-based Ka-52 and Ka-52K units.

Overall, Russia continues to modernize its defense arsenal. Hence, it is not a surprise pertaining to this flight test.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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