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Ka Be: Revamped Attack Helicopters Fly South


The Southern Military District will be the first to receive an updated version of the Ka-52 Alligator with improved combat capabilities, taking into account the experience of Syria. Its main difference will be the ability to use more long-range and accurate anti-tank guided missiles. The modification will increase the capabilities of the already existing extensive fleet of Kamov helicopters in anticipation of the creation of a new, deeper modernization. The new weapon will reduce losses from enemy fire, experts say.

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Over the battlefield

The first “Alligators-snipers” have already entered one of the army aviation units in the Southern Military District, sources in the Ministry of Defense told Izvestia. They have increased not only the range, but also the accuracy of hitting targets. Now it is possible to destroy both armored vehicles and small-sized mobile objects with missiles at long distances, to hunt for them in difficult mountainous and wooded areas day and night.

In August this year, the head of the Kalashnikov concern Dmitry Tarasov spoke about the development of a new version of the Vikhr-1 rocket for Ka-52 attack helicopters. According to him, the range of this version will increase immediately by a quarter, from 8 to 10 km. The head did not disclose other details of the modernization program of the complex, which was only recently put into service.

“Ka” to be

ka-52 alligator

Rocket complex “Vikhr-1”


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The first batch of “Vikhr-1” under a large contract for 13 billion rubles, the Russian military received in 2015. The novelty was immediately tested during the anti-terrorist operation in the Syrian Arab Republic. This was the combat debut for the ammunition and for the Alligators themselves. They took part in the battles for Palmyra, Deir ez-Zor, and then in the final defeat of the ISIS group (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) in the Euphrates River valley. According to the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Igor Makushev, the use of the Ka-52 with these missiles was successful.

The Russian military department has provided several videos confirming the destruction of tanks and terrorist vehicles by these helicopters at a distance of over 7 km, both during the day and in the dark.

Before the appearance of the Whirlwind, the Alligator’s main anti-tank weapon was the Shturm-VU complex. But his missiles fly no further than 6 km, and at night the range of their use fell by almost half.

“Ka” to be

ka-52 alligatorPhoto: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze

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Long-range weapons installed on the modernized Ka-52 make it possible to use them more widely in military operations, ex-commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army Lieutenant General Valery Gorbenko told Izvestia.

“The efficiency of these helicopters is greatly increased. If enemy armored vehicles are concentrated near the front line, our vehicles can destroy them without going beyond the contact line. This protects them from being hit by short-range anti-aircraft missile systems, DShK machine guns, and small-caliber anti-aircraft guns. Accordingly, the likelihood of losses decreases.

New vehicles are sent to the Southern Military District, since a difficult region is located in its area of ​​responsibility, the expert believes.

– Once the North Caucasus Military District was called a sanatorium-resort military district. But it is currently an outpost. The situation in the south is not easy, so the grouping in this direction is strengthening, – said Gorbenko.

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An update to the ability to use the new long-range “Whirlwinds” is received by the regular combatant Ka-52. But a deeply modernized version of them is already at the testing stage. Although the combat use of “Alligators” in Syria was generally recognized as successful, the Ministry of Defense ordered the creation of its improved version. The development contract was signed in April last year. The first prototype of the Ka-52M took off for the first time on August 10 this year. Its tests, along with a new complex of weapons, are scheduled to be completed in 2022.

It was reported that the deeply modernized Kamov combat helicopter will be able to use even longer-range ammunition than the Whirlwind family. It, like the Mi-28NM, will be equipped with a new light multipurpose guided missile known as the “product 305”. There was also information about plans to use even more long-range Hermes-A complexes from these new combat vehicles, with a range of up to 100 km.

“Ka” to be

ka-52 alligator

Soldiers of the Syrian army and a Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter during a combat operation in the vicinity of the liberated city of Al-Karyatein, Syria, April 3, 2016

Photo: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresensky

According to the developers, for their use it was necessary to equip the combat vehicle with an improved optical-electronic system. With its help, it will be possible to detect targets at a much greater distance, especially at night. A new radar with an active phased array will also contribute to this. It will be useful both for flights at low altitude in adverse weather conditions, and for finding ground and air enemies.

For better interaction with its troops, the helicopter will be able to automatically interface with the Strelets reconnaissance, control and communications complex. Soldiers on the battlefield will be able to quickly and accurately guide pilots to the target, as well as mark their positions in order to avoid erroneous strikes on them.

“Ka” to be

ka-52 alligator

Ka-52 helicopters during the Victory Parade on Red Square, May 9, 2020

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

The firing accuracy of the built-in 30 mm cannon will be increased by installing a new digital drive for it. It will help you hold the target more accurately in the sight and provide improved stabilization when shooting.

A powerful heater is built into the composite rotor blades of the Ka-52M, which will make it possible to safely operate the combat vehicle even in the Arctic climate. The designers also took care of the crew. The ergonomics of the cockpit will be improved and better adapted to flying with night vision goggles. Based on the experience of its use in Syria, its booking will be further strengthened.


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