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Attack Helicopter

KA-52 Alligator



Dimesions (mm): 14,5props/16,0 x ?
Maximum speed (km/h): 350
Alt.: 5500
Weight (kg): 10800
Engine: 2 TVD, TV3-117B, 2 x 1'638 kwt
Range (km): 455
Armament: AS Vihr
30mm DP
Crew: 2

     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 with tanks 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 defense weapons. 

   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 requirements. 

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