The Kamov Ka-52 "Alligator" (Hokum-B) is an upgraded form of the original Ka-50 "Hokum" attack helicopter line. While the Ka-50 utilized a single-seat cockpit, the most notable difference in the new mark is the twin-seat, side-by-side cockpit. Development of this attack helicopter began in 1994 leading to a first flight recorded on June 25th, 1997. While the Ka-52 includes a radar suite, additional crewmember, and all-new designation it more or less retains the same form and function as well as armament capabilities of the original. Additionally, the platform supports all-weather, day/night attack environments due to its various upgrades that include FLIR, TV sighting, helmet-mounted sighting, laser rangefinder, and mast-mounted radar antenna.
The Ka-52 is billed as an armed reconnaissance and combat platform able to take on the roles of assault, Close-Air Support (CAS), convoy protection, and armed patrolling. The helicopter maintains its weaponry under its short wingstub assemblies which allow for four underwing hardpoints. Onboard countermeasures, including signature reduction features, chaff/flare dispensers, and crew/critical systems armoring enhances battlefield survivability. Each pilot is also afforded K-37-800M shock-absorbing ejection seats. The twin-seat arrangement sports control redundancy meaning either pilot can manage the flight control aspects of the helicopter. The avionics suite is all-modern (complete with a high level of automation for reduced crew workloads) and the weapons suite flexible to support a broad range of weaponry. Attention has also been given to reduced maintenance and repair times by providing for better accessibility of key systems and components.
The Alligator features the Kamov helicopter trademark coaxial main rotors arrangement (2 x three-bladed systems) which eliminate the need for a countering tail rotor unit (this also increased battlefield survivability to an extent). These main rotors are driven by 2 x Klimov VK-2500 series turboshaft engines which support "hot-and-high" operations as well as cold weather service. Performance includes a maximum speed of 300 kmh with a cruising speed nearing 260 kmh. Ferry range is 1,100 kilometers with a combat radius of about 460 kilometers. Its operational service ceiling reaches 5,500 meters.
The Ka-52 carries a 30mm 2A42-1 cannon along the starboard side of its fuselage. There is limited traversal given which requires the pilots to position the entire aircraft in the direction of fire but overall accuracy is said to be better than that of a turreted chin gun seen in other modern attack helicopters. Beyond this standard installation, the wingstubs of the helicopter support Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs), rockets, rocket pods, gun pods, and cannon pods as required.
To date, the Ka-52 has only been adopted by the Russian Air Force with possible plans to feature it in the Russian Navy as well dependent upon successful procurement of a new amphibious warship / helicopter carrier. The Air Force is planning on a Ka-52 stock of 140 helicopters with the Navy adding a possible 40 more units.
April 2017 - Testing is ongoing on a maritime version of the Ka-52 attack helicopter. This version is designated as Ka-52K and has received various modifications for its intended over-water role including corrosion-resistant materials, unique rescue systems and comm suite, and crewspace ejection system. The type is intended to be operated from warships.