The Russian Navy is expected to get deliveries of the most modern attack helicopters.
The Ka-52K “Alligator” is intended to be based on the large amphibious assault ship “Mistral”. On the 8th of April, 2014, the Ministry of Defence signed a contract for the supply of 32 serially-manufactured Ka-52K’s. The first 12 helicopters are scheduled to be produced in 2015.
Fate of the French-built “Mistral” is unclear till date. Because of the sanctions imposed against Russia, delivery of two helicopter carriers may not take place at all. Nevertheless, helicopters intended for them are being built and are undergoing trials. According to plans of the military, the first ten serially-produced Ka-52K’s will be stationed with the land-based forces in Kamchatka. Up to 2020, the Russian Navy will receive more than 120 of these helicopters.
The Ka-52 has inherited all positive characteristics of the unique helicopter – the Ka-50 “Black Shark”. The Mi-28N “Night Hunter” was selected as the main attack helicopter by the Russian Air Force only because, according to the military, the “Black Shark” was exceedingly innovative. In contrast to all other attack helicopters, the Ka-50 can be flown by just one pilot. And military experts just could not believe that one person is capable of maneuvering at high speeds and low altitudes and at the same time firing at several targets.
The Ka-52 “Alligator” was designed to be a two-seater helicopter. Like its predecessor, it has twin rotor blades which are coaxial. Thanks to this, the “Alligator” is capable of executing maneuvers which are inaccessible to the American-built AH-64 “Apache”, nor to the Mi-28N, for example, to make a “flat” — almost from the stand-still point — sudden reverse turn. This maneuver allows, additionally, the taking off and landing within limited areas, irrespective of the wind directions.
The helicopter is capable of “starting” from a hovering position with greater acceleration than its single rotor competitors, thus achieving unprecedented maneuverability during combat operations. Furthermore, it is capable of reaching, at high speeds of horizontal flight, such kind of maneuvers like the “funnel”. This is a turn, during which, lateral movement is facilitated around the target, at a fixed given altitude.
The Ka-52 is designed to destroy tanks and other armored vehicles and can deal with slow-flying aerial targets. Since the helicopter is designed to operate almost at the forefront of combat operations, the cockpit is armored, protecting it from direct hits by 12.5 mm caliber bullets and shrapnel from the 20-mm shells.
The helicopter is armed with three guns, one 30 mm and two 23 mm placed in special containers on “wings” of the flying machine. Each has ammunition of 500 rounds. The Ka-52 is equipped with supersonic anti-tank laser-guided missiles – the “Vikhr” (Whirlwind). In addition, the anti-aircraft missile system — “Igla” to destroy aerial targets can be mounted on the helicopter. Thanks to a powerful armor and serious armaments, the Ka-52 is nicknamed as “flying tank” of the troops.
It is equally important that the “Alligator” is capable of managing a group of helicopters, acting as a “think tank” (command center) that sets goals and designates roles to all other participants. And the Ka-52 is capable of flying at any time of the day and night, regardless of weather conditions.
Difference between marine versions of the helicopter with an index “K” (Korabelny – ship in Russian) — Ka-52K and the traditional Ka-52 is primarily its adaptation to be stationed on ships of the Russian Navy.
The ship-based Ka-52K’s may get potentially equipped with new airborne radars in future, which will allow them to fire supersonic anti-ship missiles – the X-31 and X-35. This fact makes the Ka-52K an absolutely unique fighting machine. Until recently, these anti-ship cruise missiles were designed to be deployed only by the fighter aircrafts – the Su-30’s and MiG-29K’s.
The Ka-52K does not have any kind of analogue whatsoever in the whole world. And with a new set of attack weapons, this flying machine can be considered as a unique “flying tank” intended to carry out special operations with a capability to sink ships.
Many of the maritime powers are experiencing a need to modernize their naval aviation forces. For example, India is in dire need of replacing its outdated ship-based helicopters. As noted by Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan, the fleet needs 123 Naval Multi Role Helicopters. The High Command of the Indian Navy hopes that in the year 2015, the country's leadership will determine those modern flying machines, essential to be inducted into active service by the country’s Navy.