Combat helicopters had to experience harsh times, when their combat
role was completely denied, only to be acknowledged as an indispensable weapon for any
successful modern operation of ground forces. Today, many countries have developed combat
action concepts based on employment of army aviation helicopters. According to published
data, combat helicopters in the late 1970s and early 1980s always enjoyed the upper hand
in duels withtanks during military exercises at a ratio of 1:10, 1:14 and even 1:20 in
their favor. This led to urgent rigging of tank units with air defense artillery and air
defense missile systems to protect them from combat helicopter attacks. Then combat
helicopters, fitted with antitank guided missiles boasting a range of up to 5 km, became
easily vulnerable targets for air defense artillery and air defense missile systems.
The development of the Ka-50 Black Shark and AN-64A Apache combat helicopters aimed
to redress this disparity and make the helicopters able to defeat tanks armed with air
The Ka-50 combat helicopter can be used to defeat targets on the battlefield
within wide ranges of launching high-precision supersonic antitank missile systems,
including launches from more than a 6-km range within a stand-off zone of air defense
artillery and air defense missile systems. The Ka-50 combat helicopter is intended to
defeat modern armored and mechanized materiel, air targets and hostile manpower.
This co-axial helicopter features a high flight performance and ease of
piloting via automated flight devices. It can successfully execute combat missions
day/night owing to high survivability under hostile fire, powerful armament and
comfortable pilot's cockpit.
The helicopter was tested in simulated combat conditions. It met all the
requirements for combat helicopters and won a Ministry of Defense tender.
The Ka-50 helicopter is unrivalled in the world in terms of the
'cost-efficiency' criteria. In 1995 the Ka-50 combat helicopter entered service and is now
series produced at Progress Arsenyevsk-based aviation complex.
The success of any combat operation to support ground forces on the
battlefield depends to a large extent on the joint combat actions of group combat
helicopters. A group commander flying in a combat formation is responsible for control
over subordinate helicopters. His helicopter should be fitted with more sophisticated
equipment compared to the rest of the group to make him see better targets on the
battlefield and be able to ensure target designation and distribution, provide for
constant control over group combat helicopters and maintain communications with a ground
command post. The scope of tasks assigned to the commander frees him from helicopter
piloting. Consequently, he should fly in a two-seat flying combat vehicle.
The Ka-52, designated Alligator, multi-role all-weather combat helicopter, is
intended for this purpose as a two-seat modification of the Ka-50 combat helicopter.
Pilots accommodated side-by-side in one cockpit can fly this helicopter and handle all
on-board systems. The
Alligator retained all combat capabilities of its predecessor, including the whole array
of weaponry. It is outfitted with a multifunctional on-board integrated electronic flight,
navigation and weapon control system. Its passive/active observation/search and sighting
systems ensure target search and their attack day/night in any weather conditions. The
Sextant Avionic of France and Thomson company take part in creation of this helicopter.
The Ka-52 Alligator is 85 percent identical to the Ka-50 base helicopter in terms of its
airframe and main systems. Pilots escape via an ejection system. The Ka-52 Alligator can
also be used as a trainer. Pilot accommodation and the availability of new multifunctional
equipment system led to an increase in the weight of the empty helicopter and a certain
deterioration in flight performance, compared to the Ka-50. However, it did not affect the
integrated quality of this flying machine as a whole.
Externally, the Ka-52 combat helicopter differs from its predecessor in the
front part of the fuselage, shape of the cockpit and arrangement of round-the-clock
observation/search and sighting systems. Pilots are rigged with pressurized helmets fitted
with built-in displays to provide for required flight and sighting data. The Ka-50 and
Ka-52 helicopters feature interchangeability, thereby reducing costs for series production
and joint operation in combat units.
Naturally, Alligator is more expensive than Black Shark. However, this is
attributable to payments for the capability to perform combat missions on higher and more
efficient levels. The advent of Ka-52 does not mean its automatic substitution by the
Ka-50. They can be used more effectively in the interests of the ground forces, owing to
their optimal joint employment in groupings. A similar approach is also adopted by the
U.S. army aviation. The more costly and sophisticated AN-64D and AN-64D LongBoy helicopter
versions do not replace, but instead reinforce the AN-64A Apache helicopter groupings,
thereby increasing their efficiency.
In the near future the Ka-52 will be subjected to tests. The Kamov company
and its foreign partners are convinced of the successful results of the tests that will
enable the Ka-52 helicopter to occupy a leading position in its class. It is up to foreign
buyers to decide whether to choose the Ka-50 or the Ka-52 or a hybrid to meet their