Kamov Ka-50 / Ka-52
The Ka-50 Akula (Black Shark) is a single-seat attack helicopter. The Ka-50 has two coaxial three-blade rotors of 14.5-m diameter each. The polymeric composite blades are attached to the hub by a torsion bar. The airframe features mid-set stub wing, retractable three-leg landing gear and empennage of a fixed-wing aircraft type. The pilot cockpit is fully armored. The emergency pilot escape system, comprising an ejection seat, operating within the entire flight speed and altitude range.
The load factor of 3.5G allows numerous weapons options by arranging a movable high-speed firing gun starboard of the helicopter, and six external wing stores.
Total weight of the weapons on the wing stores is 2300kg. The on-board avionics suite uses satellite navigational and the observation, search and sighting systems comprising TV, laser and IR equipment.
A single-seat close support helicopter, the Ka-50 features a coaxial, contrarotating and widely separated semi-rigid three-blade rotors system with swept blade tip, attached to the hub by steel plates. The fuselage has nose sensors, a flat-screen cockpit, heavily armoured by combined steel/aluminium armour and spaced aluminium plates, with a rearview mirror above the windscreen. A sweptback tailfin has an inset rudder and large tab. A high-set tailplane on rear fuselage has endplate auxiliary fins. With retractable landing gear and mid-set unswept wings, carrying ECM pods at tips and four underwing weapon pylons. The engines are above the wingroots. Partially dismantled, the Ka-50 can be air-ferried in the Il-76 freighter. Much of the fuselage skin is formed by large hinged door panels, providing access to interior equipment from ground level.
The fuselage is built around a steel torsion box beam, of 1.0m square section. The wing centre-section passes through the beam, and the cockpit is mounted at the front of beam, gearbox above and engines to the sides. Carbon-based composites materials constitute 35% by weight of the structure, including the rotors. Approximately 350kg of armour protects the pilot, engines, fuel system and ammunnion bay. The canopy and windscreen panels are 55mm thick bulletproof glass.
The hydraulically retractable tricycle type landing gear has a twin-wheel steerable nose unit and single mainwheels all semi-exposed when up. All wheels retract rearward, and have low-pressure tyres.
Power is from two 1,633kW Klimov TV3- 117VMA turboshafts with VR-80 main reduction gearbox and two PVR-800 intermediate gearboxes, with air intake dust filters and exhaust heat suppressors. Two primary fuel tanks, filled with reticulated foam, are inside the fuselage box beam. Total internal capacity approximately 1,800 litres. The front tank feeds the port engine, the rear feeds the starboard and APU. Each tank is protected by layers of natural rubber. There is provision for four 500 litre underwing auxiliary fuel tanks. Transmission remains operable for 30 minutes after oil system failure.
The double-wall steel armoured cockpit is able to protect pilots from hits by 20 and 23mm gunfire over ranges as close as 100m. The interior is black-painted for use with NVGs. Specially designed Zvezda K-37-800 ejection system, for safe ejection from 100m. Following explosive separation of the rotor blades and opening of the cockpit roof, the pilot is extracted from the cockpit by a rocket; alternatively, he can jettison doors and stores before rolling out of cockpit sideways.
All systems are configured for operational deployment away from base for up to 12 days without need for maintenance ground equipment. Refuelling, avionics and weapon servicing are performed from ground level. AI-9V APU for engine starting, and ground supply of hydraulic and electrical power, in top of centre-fuselage. Anti-icing system for engine air intakes, rotors, AoA and yaw sensors; de-icing of windscreen and canopy by liquid spray.
PrPNK Rubikon (L-041) piloting, navigation and sighting system based on five computers: four Orbita BLVM-20-751 s for combat and navigation displays and target designation, plus one BCVM-80-30201 for WCS. Incorporates PNK-800 Radian navigation system, with C-061K pitch and heading data, IK-VSP-VI-2 speed and altitude and PA-4-3 automatic position plotting subsystems. Series 3 Tester U3 flight data recorder. Ekran BITE and warning system. KKO-VK-LP oxygen system with 2 litre supply for 90 minutes. Electrical supply from two 400kW generators at 115V 400Hz three-phase AC; 500W converter; rectifiers for 27V DC supply.
NATO code name ‘Hokum’, the project was launched in December 1977 as the V-80 (Vertolyet 80: Helicopter 80). The first prototype (010) was built by the Kamov bureau and hovered at Lyubertsy on 17 June 1982, and flew on 23 July 1982. Power was by TV3-117V engines. The second prototype (011) flew on 16 August 1983 with TV3-117VMA engines and a mockup of the Shkval tracking system, Merkury LLLTV, cannon and K-041 sighting system. Both prototypes wore painted 'windows' to simulate fictitious rear cockpits. Initially reported in the West in mid-1984, but the first photograph did not appear (US Department of Defense's Soviet Military Power) until 1989.
The first prototype was lost in a fatal accident on 3 April 1985. The first was replaced by the third prototype (012) with Mercury LLTV system for the state comparative test programme against the Mil Mi-28, which was completed in August 1986.
Two preproduction V-80Sh-1s (014 and 015) were the first to be built at Arsenyev and introduced UV 26 chaff/flare dispensers. The second had the K-37-800 ejection system and mockup of an LLLTV in an articulated turret. Ordered into production in December 1987, a further three were used for continued development work comprising 018 (first flown at Arsenyev 22 May 1991), 020 "Werewolf" and 021 "Black Shark". (The export marketing name was originally Werewolf, but had changed to Black Shark by 1996.) State tests of the Ka-50 began in mid-1991 and the type was commissioned into the Russian Army Aviation in August 1993 for trials at the 4th Army Aviation Training Centre, Torzhok. In August 1994, the Ka-50 was included in the Russian Army inventory by Presidential decree, and judged winner of the fly-off against Mi-28. The Mi-28 was nominally terminated on 5 October 1994 but the competition continued.
Further army evaluation followed when the first two of four production Ka-50s were funded in 1994 and officially accepted on 28 August 1995. The third and fourth were received in 1996, the four were numbered 20 to 23 (prompting pre-series 021 to be renumbered 024 to avoid confusion). Arsenyev production was to have increased to one per month during 1997, but this did not occur. The original Ka-50 (and rival Mi-28A) were overtaken by the issue of a revised requirement which emphasised night capability - favouring the two-seat Mi-28. The initial order for 15 Ka-50s was reportedly cancelled in September 1998, with procurement postponed until 2003. Three were deployed to Mozdok during 1999 for use in Chechnya, but were not used operationally. Two returned to the theatre in December 2000, with the first firing of weapons against guerrilla forces on 6 January 2001 (operating in conjunction with Mil Mi-24s). The helicopters returned to Torzhok in March 2001. Unspecified modifications, found necessary as a consequence of operational deployment, had been incorporated by November 2002, according to a Kamov announcement.
Customers were the four for Russian Army service trials, plus eight flying prototype and pre-series helicopters; all delivered. A further 10 were ordered in the 1997 budget and six in 1998, of which first three were due for delivery before the end of 1998. The initial helicopter was eventually completed in June 1999, two more were due by mid-2000. By early 2003, it was still unclear if helicopters from the first batch of 10 had been delivered to Army Aviation. Two operational Ka-50s were shown at the Moscow Salon in August 2001 but may have been repainted trials aircraft. One army helicopter lost in accident 17 June 1998; attributed to rotor clash.
The unit price of the Ka-50N was quoted as between US$12 million and US$15 million in mid-1999.
The Ka-50N (Nochnoy: Nocturnal) was also reported as the Ka-50Sh. A night-capable attack version, essentially a single-seat Ka-52, the programme began in 1993, originally based on TpSPO-V and Merkury LLLTV systems, which were tested on Ka-50 development aircraft. The Ka-50N was first reported in April 1997 as a conversion of prototype 018 with Thomson-CSF Victor FLIR turret above the nose and Arbalet (crossbow) mast-mounted radar, plus a second TV screen in cockpit. The FLIR was integrated with Uralskyi Optiko-Mekhanicheskyi Zavod (UOMZ) Samshit-50 (Laurel-50) electro-optic sighting system, incorporating a French IR set. First flight variously reported as 4 March or 5 May 1997. Programmed improvements included replacement of the PA-4-3 paper moving map with digital equivalent. By August 1997, the FLIR turret was repositioned below the nose and the Arbalet was removed. By mid-1998, the IT-23 CRT display was replaced by a TV-109, and the HUD removed and replaced by Marconi helmet display. A proposed new cockpit was shown in September 1998, having two Russkaya Avionika 203 x 152mm LCDs and central CRT for sensor imagery. Indigenous avionics were intended for any local production orders, the French systems were an interim solution and standard for export. The Republic of Korea Army evaluated both the Ka-50N and the baseline Ka-50. In 1999, pre-production aircraft 014 was exhibited with a UOMZ GOES sensor turret in place of Shkval.
The Ka-50 Hokum-A was a a single seat helicopter, althougth Israeli Air Industries developed a tandem-seat cockpit version with Kamov known as the Ka-52 Alligator or Hokum-B.
Engine: 2 x Klimov TV3-117VK.
Instant pwr: 1642 kW.
Rotor dia: 14.5 m.
Length with rotors turning: 16.0m
Empty weight: 7700kg
MTOW: 10,800 kg.
Payload: 2500 kg.
Max speed: 189 kts / 310km/h
Range with max payload: 450km
Range with max fuel: 1200km
HOGE: 13,115 ft / 4000m
Rate of climb: 10.0m/s
ROC: 1500 fpm.