The Russian Ministry of Defense will finalize a contract for an upgraded version of the Ka-52 next year. Speaking to TASS Russian News Agency on December 4, Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky stated in regard to the upgraded Ka-52M. Earlier in 2019, Russia’s Ministry of Defense signed a long-term contract for the production of nearly 100 Mi-28NMs, which secures the production line for the next seven years. It has previously been reported that Russia will purchase as many as 114 new Ka-52s.
Helicopter conglomerate Russian Helicopters did not offer any further details on the Ka-52M, but a May 2019 statement quoted him as saying that upgrades to the helicopter would involve increasing â€œthe range of detecting and identifying targets” as well as improving â€œthe capabilities of employing weapons against both ground and air targets.” In October 2019 that the Ka-52Ms will receive an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
Many of the improvements stem from observations of the base model Ka-52’s performance in the Russian military campaign in Syria. Russia intervened in 2015 to support the then-struggling Syrian Army as it grappled with multiple insurgencies on different fronts. Throughout the course of the conflict, Russia deployed a number of new systems in combat operations for the first time â€“ some of which had already joined service while others were sent to Syria as part of their development â€“ to enable the defense industry to fix issues with the hardware and respond to trends in modern warfare.
Besides improving the combat capabilities of the Ka-52, another goal of the Ka-52M modernization program is to deepen the Ka-52’s commonality with the Mi-28 line of helicopters in order to make production and support services more efficient and less expensive. As part of that effort, Boginsky has previously stated that the Ka-52 may also receive a missile developed for use with the Mi-28NM. The Ka-52M should be completed by 2022. In addition to the Ka-52M, Russia is also developing a naval version of the helicopter, called the Ka-52K, which is designed for use on board warships. Four prototypes of the maritime variant have been built.