Russia unveils all-terrain and all-weather combat aircraft with the most modern technology systems

The Kamov Ka-52 Alligator (NATO reporting name Hokum-B) is a two-seat version of the Ka-50.

It is a multi-role all-weather attack helicopter, capable operating in daytime and at night. Development started in 1994 and the type was first flown in 1997.

The Ka-52

The Ka-52 has been ordered for Russian service, and its small-scale series production commenced in 2008. However due to budget restrictions this helicopter is fielded in small numbers. By 2012 only 30 helicopters were delivered. By 2017 the Russian military reportedly operated 90 of these helicopters. In 2020 this number reached 127 units.

The Ka-52

This Russian attack helicopter is also offered for export customers. In 2017 a naval version of this helicopter, the Ka-52K, was exported to Egypt. Egypt ordered a total of 46 helicopters. By 2021 30 of them were delivered. Algeria reportedly ordered 12 of these helicopters. Deliveries were planned to begin in 2019. The Ka-52 was widely used during the Russian invasion in Ukraine, alongside its rival, the Mil Mi-28.

The Ka-52

The Ka-52 shares 85% of its airframe, parts, components and systems with the original single-seat Ka-50. Most of the changes were made to the cockpit. The Ka-52 can be recognized from the Ka-50 by a wider nose and twin-seat cockpit.

Seats are arranged side-by-side. Both pilots have full controls of the helicopter. Such arrangement simplifies operation of the helicopter during combat. Also it allows to use the helicopter as a trainer. There is no need for a dedicated training version.

The Ka-52

The Kamov Ka-52 Alligator is fitted with uprated TV3-117VMA turboshaft engines. The Hokum-B has unique maneuverability, which was derived from its two coaxial contra-rotating main rotors. It is among the most maneuverable helicopters in the world.

Armor of the Alligator withstands hits from 23 mm projectiles. Pilots are seated in ejection seats. The helicopter can fly with one engine disabled. A number of Ka-52 helicopters were shot down in Ukraine. Nevertheless it proved to be a very survivable machine.

The Ka-52

There were a number of cases when the Ka-52 was hit by a missile, but still managed to make a controlled landing. This is due to its design with contra-rotating rotors. Other helicopters loose control when the tail rotor is damaged, but it is not the case with the Ka-52, as it has no tail rotor.

The data is classified, but judging from Ukrainian claims and images of shot down Ka-52 helicopters, it seems that many Russian pilots survived when their Ka-52 was shot down.


The Ka-52

The Hokum-B has a battlefield management system. It can exchange data with with similar helicopters or other helicopter types, as well as third party sources. This helicopter is also intended as an aerial command post for a group of helicopters. It provides target detection and coordinates the attacks.

The Ka-52 retains all combat capabilities of its predecessor, the Ka-50. It is armed with a side-mounted 30 mm cannon. There are six external hardpoints for different combinations of weapons, including anti-tank missiles (Vikhr, Vikhr-M), air-to-air missiles (Igla-V), pods with unguided rockets, bombs.

The Ka-52

For anti-armor missions it is armed with up to 12 Vikhr ATGMs. These have a range of up to 10 000 m and penetrate up to 1 000 mm of steel armor behind explosive reactive armor. So the Vikhr missiles are capable of defeating even the most protected main battle tanks.

The Russian Ka-52 helicopters were widely used during the 2022 invasion to Ukraine. During the first 8 months of war there were 23 verified losses of Ka-52s.

The Ka-52

Unit price of the Ka-52 is around $16 million.

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