Russian state media agency TASS reported that official trials of the upgraded Ka-52M reconnaissance/attack helicopter are planned to be completed in October 2022. The completion of official joint trials is planned in October 2022. The producer of the upgraded helicopter, the Progress Aircraft Plant in Arsenyev (part of Russian Helicopters holding of Rostec state corporation), is ready for serial production of Ka-52M in volumes demanded by the client. The Ka-52M is an upgraded version of the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter. TASS has no official confirmation of this information yet.
The Kamov Ka-50 “Black Shark” (NATO reporting name: Hokum A) is a Soviet/Russian single-seat attack helicopter with the distinctive coaxial rotor system of the Kamov design bureau. It was designed in the 1980s and adopted for service in the Russian army in 1995. It is manufactured by the Progress company in Arsenyev. It is used as a heavily armed scout helicopter. It has a rescue ejection system, rare for helicopters. The new version announced by the Russian Ministry of Defence in 2018 eventually crystallized into the Ka-52M. 114 helicopters of this new version are to be acquired; additionally, older Ka-52s are to be upgraded to Ka-52M standard.
The contract for the first 30 Ka-52M helicopters was signed in August 2021. A new contract was signed in August 2022. Upgrades embodied in the Ka-52M include a modernized GOES-451M electro-optical targeting turret with an increased range, stronger undercarriage wheels, and improved cockpit ergonomics, with better adaptation to the use of night-vision goggles. The LMUR missile is added to the helicopter’s armament options. Several new radar types are being considered for the Ka-52M. A new self-protection system will also be fitted to the Ka-52M, replacing the current L370-5 Vitebsk. Lastly, the Ka-52M is adapted to work within a new battlefield command and control system.
The Ka-52M missile armament has been standardized with the weapons suite of the Mi-28NM helicopter which has helped increase its striking range considerably. The Ka-52M is also furnished with a new phased array radar station and longer-range missiles. The upgraded gunship prototype performed its debut flight on August 10, 2020. The KA-52M design features the best technical solutions: a longer-range gyro-stabilized optoelectronic target acquisition and identification system, a new digital drive to increase the gun’s aiming accuracy, new chassis wheels with disc breaking gear and enhanced wear resistance aircraft tires. The VK-2500 engine is mounted on the upgraded rotorcraft.