Long-time helicopter-maker Kamov of Russia produces the all-modern Ka-226 co-axial rotor light-utility helicopter that has since seen formal adoption by the militaries of Russia and India. The platform utilizes the Kamov signature co-axial main rotor arrangement, in which one multi-bladed main rotor is set atop another, which negates use of an anti-torque tail rotor unit. The rotors themselves carry an advanced blade design critical to efficiency and effectiveness. Under 100 units of this versatile helicopter have been completed to date (2018) with foreign market interest slowly growing.
The Ka-226 can trace its lineage to the earlier single-engined Ka-126 (17 built) of 1989 which, itself, was born from the much-earlier Cold War-era Ka-26 (816 built) of 1969. Work on the Ka-226 was begun around 1990 and intended to satisfy a Russian government need for a multi-role humanitarian relief platform.
On the whole, the Ka-226 shares a conventional design arrangement which sees the cockpit overlooking a short nose section, a centralized engine and passenger cabin, and a tail unit at the rear. The forward section of the aircraft relies on oversized panes for excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. The flight crew enter/exit through hinged automobile-style doors along the forward fuselage sides. Aft of the cockpit (which sports side-by-side seating for the two pilots) is the multi-faceted cabin area.
Unlike other similar light utility-minded helicopter types, Kamov engineers have fashioned a truly multi-role platform with their Ka-226 design for the entire cabin section is a module that can be readily replaced for different mission roles. This versatility allows the helicopter to undertake sorties ranging from general equipment/passenger transport, VIP service, and security to MEDEVAC, fire-fighting, and emergency relief.
The undercarriage is a four-legged, all-wheeled arrangement for ground-running and remains fixed during flight (i.e. non-retractable). The tail unit uses a twin-boom structure that runs aft to which point vertical planes are affixed at the ends of a single horizontal plane. The raised nature of the tail ensures that there is unfettered access to the rear of the fuselage for unloading cargo, patient litters and the like. The lack of a tail rotor also means that ground personnel are in no danger of running into spinning tail rotor blades. The engines sit atop the cabin in the traditional way and drive the two three-bladed main rotors from a single mast/axis in true Kamov fashion (this feature is also seen in the Kamov Ka-50 "Black Shark" attack helicopter series - detailed elsewhere on this site).
The base market form is outfitted with 2 x Rolls-Royce 250C series turboshaft engines.
Beyond the crew of two, up to seven passengers can be carried if the helicopter is equipped with the appropriate fuselage module. Dimensions of the craft include a length of 25.6 feet, a diameter (main rotor included) of 42.7 feet, and a height of 13.6 feet. Performance specs include a maximum speed of 155 mph, a cruising speed of 137mph, a range out to 375 mile, and a service ceiling reaching 20,300 feet. The Ka-226 can hover up to an altitude of 15,100 feet.
The Ka-226 first went to the skies in prototype form on September 4th, 1997 and gained Russian market certifications in late-2003.
The base production model is designated simply as Ka-226. The Ka-226AG is a variant specifically requested by Russian industrial giant GAZPROM for high-low service across the spectrum of its oil/gas industry. The Ka-226T model carries French-made Turbomeca "Arrius" 2G1 engines of 670 horsepower (each) instead of the original Rolls-Royce fits which provides for greater high-altitude/high-temperature performance. In addition to the engine change there is an all-new avionics set and radar installation and the airframe is readily adaptable to the Search And Rescue (SAR) and MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC) roles. The GAZPROM variant of the Ka-226T becomes the Ka-226TG.
Both the Russian and Indian governments utilize the Ka-226 series. For the former, it is in the Air Force service branch as well as the Federal Security Service. For the latter, it has been ordered for service in the Army and Air Force branches.