Upgraded Ka-52M ‘Alligator’ combat helicopter

The Russian Ministry of Defence signed a contract for Kamoc Ka-52M Alligator combat helicopters with Russian Helicopters Holding today during the Army 2021 Forum.

The Ka-52M is considered a competitor to the U.S.-made Apache. First of these helicopters will be handed over to the Russian military in 2022. Deliveries of the upgraded helicopters will begin after passing state joint tests, which started in August, the company said in a statement.

First flight of the Ka-52M took place in August 2020.

"When developing the updated version, our designers relied on experience operation of the Alligator, including in a real combat situation. Therefore, in the improved attack helicopter, everything is aimed at increasing the combat efficiency in any weather conditions. In agreement with the Russian Ministry of Defence, preparations for the production of serial vehicles have already started at the AAK Progress enterprise in Primorye," noted Andrey Boginsky, General Director of the Russian Helicopters.

The biggest improvement in the upgraded Ka-52 is a new radar with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) besides guided missiles with increased range.

Designated as the Ka-52M, the helicopter is equipped with an upgraded optoelectronic system with an increased target detection and recognition range, a new digital drive, which will improve the aiming accuracy when firing a cannon.

The Ka-52 is considered similar to the Boeing Apache in attack ability though both are completely dissimilar in design. It remains to be seen if the new features in the upgraded helicopter will give it an edge over the Apache which has become perhaps the largest selling military helicopter in recent years.

The Ka-52M main rotor blades are equipped with a more powerful heating element, which will allow the helicopter to operate in the entire temperature range, including Arctic conditions. The helicopter is equipped with landing gear wheels with a higher load-bearing capacity and wear resistance, as well as lighting protection equipment based on LEDs.

The Ka-52M has received modernized avionics complex equipped with increased performance computing facilities. With its help, the possibilities of using weapons are expanded, including at night. The range of detection and recognition of targets at night has doubled.

The helicopter has installed and tested advanced missile weapons. The Ka-52M is adapted to work in conjunction with UAVs - the data received from the drones will help to increase the situational awareness of the crew on the battlefield and will help to qualitatively improve the collection of intelligence at a greater distance.

The combat radius of the helicopter has also been increased. The helicopter is also equipped with an upgraded BSK (airborne load control system).