.: Tim Hales' Italeri Kamov Ka 52 Helicopter

Modelling Time:
2 months
PE/Resin Detail:

"Nice kit with fine details
Finished in "Demonstrator Black"

Kamov Ka-50

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Ka-50 "Black Shark"
Ka-52 "Alligator"
Russian Air Force Kamov Ka-50.jpg
Kamov Ka-50 of the Russian Air Force (VVS)
Role Attack helicopter,[1] scout helicopter[2]
National origin Soviet Union / Russia
Manufacturer Kamov
First flight Ka-50: 17 June 1982[3]
Ka-52: 25 June 1997[4]
Introduction 28 August 1995
Status In service[5]
Primary user Russian Air Force (VVS)
Produced 1990-present
Number built Ka-50: 32[6]
Ka-52: 65[7][8][9]
Unit cost
500 million rubles (approx. $16 million) as of May 2011[5]
Developed from Kamov V-80

The Kamov Ka-50 "Black Shark" (Russian: Чёрная акула; Chornaya Akula Black Shark, NATO reporting name: Hokum A) is a single-seat Russian attack helicopter with the distinctive coaxial rotor system of the Kamov design bureau. It was designed in the 1980s and adopted for service in the Russian army in 1995. It is currently manufactured by the Progress company in Arsenyev. It is being used as a heavily armed scout helicopter.[2]

During the late 1990s, Kamov and Israel Aerospace Industries developed a tandem-seat cockpit version, the Kamov Ka-50-2 "Erdogan", to compete in Turkey's attack helicopter competition. Kamov also designed another two-seat variant, the Kamov Ka-52 "Alligator" (Russian: Аллигатор, NATO reporting name: Hokum B).[10]


The Ka-50 is the production version of the V-80Sh-1 prototype. Production of the attack helicopter was ordered by the Soviet Council of Ministers on 14 December 1987.[11] Development of the helicopter was first reported in the West in 1984. The first photograph appeared in 1989.[12] Following initial flight testing and system tests the Council ordered the first batch of helicopters in 1990. The attack helicopter was first described publicly as the "Ka-50" in March 1992 at a symposium in the United Kingdom.[11]

The helicopter was publicly unveiled at the Mosaeroshow '92 at Zhukovskiy, in August 1992. The following month, the second production example made its foreign debut at the Farnborough Airshow, where it was displayed with an image of a werewolf on its rudder—gaining the popular nickname "Werewolf". The fifth prototype gave the Ka-50 a particularly enduring designation. Painted black for its starring role in the movie Чёрная акула/Black Shark, the helicopter has been known by that nickname ever since. In November 1993, four production helicopters were flown to the Army Aviation Combat Training Centre at Torzhok to begin field trials. The president of the Russian Federation authorized the fielding of the Ka-50 with the Russian Army on 28 August 1995. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a severe drop in defense procurement. This resulted in a mere dozen Ka-50s delivered, instead of the planned several hundred to replace the Mil Mi-24.[13]

Kamov concluded after thorough research of helicopter combat in Afghanistan and other war zones that the typical attack mission phases of low-level approach, pop-up target acquisition and weapon launch do not simultaneously demand navigation, maneuvering and weapons operation of the pilot; and thus with well-designed support automation a single pilot can carry out the entire mission alone.[citation needed] During operational testing from 1985 to 1986, the workload on the pilot was found to be similar to that of a fighter-bomber pilot, and the pilot could perform both flying and navigation duties.[14]

Like other Kamov helicopters, it features Kamov's characteristic contra-rotating co-axial rotor system, which removes the need for the entire tail rotor assembly and improves the aircraft's aerobatic qualities—it can perform loops, rolls and "the funnel" (circle-strafing), where the aircraft maintains a line-of-sight to the target while flying circles of varying altitude, elevation and airspeed around it. Using two rotors means that a smaller rotor with slower-moving rotor tips can be used, compared to a single-rotor design.[citation needed] Since the speed of the advancing rotor tip is a primary limitation to the maximum speed of a helicopter, this allows a faster maximum speed than helicopters such as the AH-64. The elimination of the tail rotor is a qualitative advantage, because the torque-countering tail rotor can use up to 30% of engine power. Furthermore, the vulnerable boom and rear gearbox are fairly common causes of helicopter losses in combat; the Black Shark's entire transmission presents a comparatively small target to ground fire.[citation needed]

The single-seat configuration was considered undesirable by NATO. The first two Ka-50 prototypes had false windows painted on them.[15] The "windows" evidently worked, as the first western reports of the aircraft were wildly inaccurate, to the point of some analysts even concluding its primary mission was as an air superiority aircraft for hunting and killing NATO attack helicopters.[16] For improved pilot survivability the Ka-50 is fitted with a NPP Zvezda (transl. Star) K-37-800 ejection seat, which is a rare feature for a helicopter.[17] Before the rocket in the ejection seat deploys, the rotor blades are blown away by explosive charges in the rotor disc and the canopy is jettisoned.[18]

The Ka-50 and its modifications have been chosen as the special forces' support helicopter, while the Mil Mi-28 has become the main army's gunship. The production of Ka-50 was recommenced in 2006. In 2009, the Russian Air Force received three units, built from incomplete airframes dating from the mid-1990s.[19]

Ka-52 "Alligator"

Ka-52 "061", Zhukovski, 2009

In the early 1980s, while the comparative tests of the V-80 (Ka-50 prototype) and the Mi-28 were still ongoing, the Kamov design team came up with a proposal to develop a dedicated helicopter to conduct battlefield reconnaissance, provide target designation, support and co-ordinate group attack helicopter operations. However, the economic hardships that hit the nation in the late 1980s hampered the development program of the new type. This prompted Kamov's Designer General to choose a modified version of Ka-50 on which to install the recce and target designation system. The modified "Hokum" required a second crew member to operate the optronics/radar reconnaissance suite. Kamov decided to use side-by-side seating arrangement, due to the verified improvements in co-operation between the crew members. This twin-seat version of the "Hokum" received a designation of Ka-52.[13]

In comparison to the original Ka-50, it has a "softer" nose profile and a radar system with two antennas—mast-mounted for aerial targets and nose-mounted for ground targets. "Samshit" day-and-night TV/thermal sighting system in two spherical turrets (one over the cockpit and the second under the nose) are also present. The Ka-52 retains the side-mounted cannon of the original Ka-50.[22] It features six wing-mounted hardpoints as opposed to four on the Ka-50. In order to keep the weight and performance on par with that of the Ka-50, some trade-offs were introduced to the design; the scale of the armour plating and the capacity of the cannon magazine/feed have been reduced. Despite the introductions, some flight parameters have deteriorated; rate of climb is 8 m/s (vs. 10 m/s), maximum positive load factor is 3.0 g. Most of the problems were solved by installing or remotorising with new VK-2500 engine. [18] The Ka-52 is approved for day, night and adverse meteorological conditions.[23]

Manufacturing of the first Ka-52 airframe began in mid-1996.[13] Serial production was started in autumn 2008.[24] The 696th Instructor and Research Helicopter Regiment, based at Torzhok Air Base, is operating eight helicopters, in varying degrees of capability and/or modification, for the purpose of ongoing research and development.[19] In December 2010, four new, series-production Kamov Ka-52s were delivered to the Air Base,[25] 344th Centre for Combat Training and Aircrew Conversion.[26]

Serial Ka-52 at Torzhok Air Base

The first phase of the official tests (ГСИ) was completed in December 2008, whereupon permission was given for the production of an experimental batch, for the continuation of phase 2 (ГСИ, including fire tests and the search for targets)[27]

The Ka-52 has completed the state trials. The fourth operationally configured helicopter was taken on strength by the Russian Air Force on 10 February 2011. Under the current State Defense Procurement Plan, Russian Armed Forces will receive 30 helicopters by 2012.[28] A second batch of 36 helicopters will be inducted to service in early 2012.[19] Russia’s Air Force is to adopt 140 Ka-52s. Dmitry Petrov, general director of the holding company Russian Helicopters, stated that that the manufacturer had signed a major contract with the Ministry of Defense. The Ka-52 is assembled in the helicopter factory at Arsenyev, Primorsky Krai.[29]

Mistral class amphibious assault ships, ordered by the Russian Defense Ministry,[30] will contain rotory-wing assets, formed into aviation groups. Each of these groups is planned to include eight attack and eight assault/transport helicopters. The navalised derivative of the Ka-52 Alligator– Ka-52K, has been selected as the new ship-borne attack type for the Russian Naval Aviation (Aviatsiya Voenno-morskogo Flota Rossii). It will feature folding rotor blades, folding wings and life-support systems for the crew members, who will fly in immersion suits. The fuselage and systems will be given special anti-corrosion treatment and a new fire-control radar will be capable of operating in "Sea Mode" and of supporting anti-ship missiles. Russian Naval Aviation will need no fewer than 40 Ka-52Ks, the first of which is tentatively slated to enter squadron service by late 2014 or early 2015, coinciding with the delivery of the first carrier.[31]

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