Ka-50 & Ka-52

Kamov design bureau was established in late 1940s after successful demonstration of single engine ultra-light Ka-8 type and its improved derivate Ka-10, which was maiden flown on 30th of August 1949.

Both were rather experimental types used for exploring of options how to utilize the helicopter and the latter one was adopted by the Soviet naval aviation into the regular service. Due to small dimensions and small footprint given by coaxial rotors Ka-10s were for the first time deployed on Soviet Navy vessels and gave to both Experimental design bureau OKB Kamov and Soviet Navy valuable expertise with maritime helicopter operation. In total four helicopters were test flown by the naval aviators with following order for ten serial ships. However, due to uncovered cockpit both types were really limited in its operational use and it just gave the background for further helicopter design for Kamov. The following Ka-15 type, maiden flown for the first time on 14th of April 1953, was a real success for the company as enclosed cockpit allowed all weather operation. Also the helicopter performance with twin seat cockpit allowed for the first time to carry on board a mission equipment, which made the helicopter a true multipurpose platform instead of just transport mean. The type was widely adopted by the Soviet Naval Aviation as well as many state organisations including Aeroflot national carrier, fishing fleet, postal service or various agricultural organisations. It was for the first time when Kamov helicopter carried weapons as trio of Ka-15M variant helicopters was designed for “search and destroy” missions against enemy submarines. One helicopter carried on board ASU-15M sonar and acoustic buoys RGB-N, the second one carried receiving unit SPARU-55 while the third one was real attack configuration with depth charges. The reason why three helicopters were used was the limited maximum load weight of the type. Between 1956 and 1965 in total 351 production helicopters were completed at Ulan Ude aviation plant. The following Ka-18 derivate with more bulky cabin was mostly operated by civilian operators including medical service with total of 111 helicopters manufactured till 1972.

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In the beginning of 1960s Kamov finished the Ka-22 compound helicopter, which lost the state competition to much more successful and conceptually less demanding Mi-6 heavy weight type. In the history of Kamov company it was first loss to its main rival, Mil helicopter plant. Mi-6 was one of the first helicopters in the world powered by a new engine of turboshaft type and clearly showed the future path of helicopter design. Kamov well recognized the potential of new powerplant type and on 26th of April 1963, after five years of development, a new medium size helicopter called Ka-25 was test flown for the first time. It was much larger than Ka-10 or Ka-15 and was equipped with very modern avionics including so sophisticated system such as automatic stabilisation system allowing hovering on selected position.

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The Ka-25 was basically built around special anti-submarine equipment as it was intended primary mission of the type. It was for the first time the helicopter was capable of target localisation, tracking and destroying. When compared to Ka-15M it brought to the Soviet Navy a substantial capability of submarines detection. Later special target navigation, NBC reconnaissance and rescue variants were introduced. For example the Ka-25Ts variant was intended for target search and acquisition with subsequent hand-over of data to regular anti-submarine Ka-25PLs. It was for the first time in naval aviation when a special “scout” helicopter was used for localisation of targets to be destroyed by special anti-submarine types. Each Ka-25PL was capable of target localisation, but the Ka-25Ts was equipped with more powerful radar and better operation centre allowing longer range detection. In total 460 helicopters were manufactured at Ulan Ude manufacturing plant with some being exported to friendly countries.

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