By By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief Andrew Drwiega | August 1, 2013
The team from Russian Helicopters came to the Paris Air Show to talk about the Ka-52, but more particularly to open dialogue with potential customers who may wish to “use their own systems and tailor the aircraft to their own national needs,” according to Sergey Mikeev, Kamov’s chief design engineer.
There was a time, he said, “when the Black Shark (Ka-50) was the most advanced helicopter and now the Ka-52 in its present configuration is the best to solve all combat tasks.” Mikeev added that the attack helicopter had capacity for future development. He said that he held in high esteem Boeing’s Apache AH-64 attack helicopter, but noted that the Ka-52 had not entered the recent Indian competition – hinting that the end result might have been different. He added that his company still has “good plans” for India.
|Kamov Ka-52 at the Paris Air Show.|
There will be a naval variant of the Ka-52, stated Mikeev, as the land version could not fill the aspirations of the Russian Navy. Mikeev was critical of helicopters without armor protection and shared that the Ka-52 is designed to withstand hits from 12.7 mm rounds. He explained that the side-by-side crew configuration had been found the best for crew resource management (CRM). When asked about stealth, he said there were two viewpoints. A way could be found to reduce the signature (although not completely) or the radar had to be avoided/defeated by other means.
Currently, the Russian Army has three regiments of Ka-52s, with production ongoing, although he said exact figures were sensitive. Regarding international partners, he said that cooperation with French company Sagem was possible as well as other organizations.