Ka-50 & Ka-52

Kamov gained incredible lesson learned from delivering helicopters to demanding naval aviation service. Generally we can say, that in despite of many service problems, Kamov helicopters were due to its advanced on board equipment much more capable than its ground counterparts made by main rival, the Mil design bureau. Ka-25 really established the OKB Kamov as an innovative helicopter manufacturer able to master advanced technologies such as datalink transfer or automatic flight stabilisation and target surveillance. In the same time Kamov introduced also multipurpose civilian Ka-26 light type, which was one of the most successful types in the company history with very wide operation of 832 manufactured helicopters both in military area for transport, but even more in civilian environment. This type helped to stabilize the company with parallel civilian production line.
In 1966 Kamov design bureau, still heavily influenced and informally led by N.I. Kamov, decided to participate in a state competition for a new attack and transport helicopter. It was soon clear only two candidates are under consideration. Mil offered V-24 concept, later known as Mi-24 Hind, and Kamov presented Ka-25F variant of anti-submarine Ka-25PL base model. From the design point of view it was more or less a new airframe with different shaping, but using the existing tail part and complete dynamic system. In the front part there were seats for pilot and weapon operator. Behind them there was a cabin for 8 fully equipped troops. The armament was better than the one with Mil´s type as it relied on GSh-23 twin barrelled 23 mm cannon located in a rotating turret under the nose, up to six UB-16-57 FFAR rocket blocks with total of 96 rockets and up to six 9M17 Falanga ATGMs on hardpoints on the sides. The guidance was similar to the one later introduced on Mi-24 with SACLOS type of guidance for ATGMs.

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Although the Ka-25F promised avionics was much more capable than the one with Mi-24, state commission cleared for further design only Mil´s type. It was again a huge lesson learned for Kamov, who was framed in a position of naval helicopters supplier and failed to penetrate the ground based helicopters market. This lesson learned motivated Kamov team to work even harder. During one of debriefings in the company the Ka-25F project was named as “not advanced enough and not bringing substantially a new level of technology”. In late 1960s Kamov proposed another attack type of brand new concept called V-50. It was a twin tandem rotor helicopter used again both for ground attack and transport of troops. The man behind this idea was I.A.Erlikh, designer previously responsible for Yak-24 “flying wagon” tandem rotor type who joined Kamov after Yakovlev design bureau focused on fixed wing aircraft only. The V-50 helicopter had tandem cockpit for pilot and weapon operator with large stub wings on the front part carrying four hard points. The expected maximum flight speed reached 400 km/h, which has exceeded the flight envelope of all flying helicopters at that time. It worth noticing the type was really huge with transport capacity for some up to 18 soldiers. However, in despite of large effort of OKB Kamov management the concept was not accepted. In the beginning of 1970s Kamov proposed one more design called V-100. It was very futuristic side-by-side rotor helicopter with pusher propeller powered by two turboshaft engines. By the way, the concept was quite close to one of original configurations of attack helicopter designed by Mil bureau (concept later changed to Mi-28). Such helicopter was promising very good performance with great payload options due to location of hadpoints under the centre-of-gravity. However, it was again rejected no matter the concept was feasible and clearly offered much more than existing Mi-24s.

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In the same time Kamov has finished and introduced the future star of the company, Ka-27 anti-submarine type. The maiden flight took place on 24th of December 1973. Again this helicopter was much better equipped than any ground based counterpart, mainly due to its advanced all weather autopilot and stabilisation system. For example the on board Initsiativa 2K radar was capable of 360° search within less than 30 seconds with automatic detection of targets and surveillance. The anti-submarine helicopter is as well equipped with VGS-3 dipping sonar, APM-60 magnetic anomaly detector plus sound buoys. The advanced anti-submarine system is independently evaluating data from sensors and indicating place of following sonar dipping for best area coverage. The Ka-27 helicopter features four axis autopilot coupled with anti-submarine system able to perform the detection spot relocation plus hovering fully in automatic mode. Acoustic buoys allow to cover area of 2000 km2 with expected cooperation with other helicopters in the group including mutual sharing of target data.

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