Russian MoD orders 30 Ka-52M helicopters, each for over a billion rubles

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Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal is a Defence and Aerospace Journalist with his articles/works on various digital and print media platforms. He is an Anchor/Host and Correspondent associated with several News Media Organizations. He is responsible for Digital Media and Defense reporting at Frontier India. *Views are personal

As per reports, the Russian Ministry of Defence has finally agreed on the final price of the Ka-52M helicopters.

The helicopter is modernised with enhanced optics and radar, and long-range weapons, which are currently being tested. The cost of each of these Ka-52Ms is estimated to be more than a billion rubles.

A little over a billion 

A contract for the supply of an initial batch of 30 units has already been signed with the Russian Helicopters Holding by the Ministry of Defense. The new helicopters cost close to the previously purchased S-30SM fighters multipurpose fighters (1 billion 187 million rubles).

The first modernised Ka-52M is estimated to be worth 1 billion 75 million rubles per aircraft, as per the insurance documents referred to by news source Izvestia. The “Super Aligator” contract does not include ammunition and ground equipment or spare parts and other accessories. The Ka-52M is considered to be much cheaper than the Su-35S (2 billion 287 million rubles) and the Su-57, which costs more than 3 billion rubles.

The Super Alligator costs about $15 million at current exchange rates, while similar helicopters from the United States or European countries are higher.

The price for the export Ka-52M may be different.

Russian transport Mi-8 and Mi-17 are sold abroad for more than $ 30 million per unit, and the combat Ka-52M will be much more expensive. 

All about the Ka-52 M

The Ka-52 M is the modernised version of the Ka-52 after studying the helicopter’s combat experience in Syria. The Russians say the machine has proved its worth in combat in Syria.

The helicopter has been updated with an enhanced optoelectronic system, allowing it to detect targets at a much greater distance, especially during the night hours. The new AESA radar enables the pilots to feel more confident while flying at low altitudes in adverse weather conditions and detecting ground and aerial targets.

In addition, efficient use of the long-range missiles shall be ensured by this new radar. It is also believed that a new light multipurpose guided missile known as “product 305” will be equipped on KA-52M and the Mi-28NM. Equipping the KA-52 M with longer-range Hermes anti-tank missiles is also being speculated. 

The helicopter is being made capable of automatically interface with the Strelets surveillance, control and communications complex, which will help the scouts and gunners from the ground directly transmit the coordinates of targets to the crew.  

The helicopter is said to be equipped with a new digital drive of the 30mm cannon, allowing its user to have a better experience while holding the target in sight, improving the stabilisation while shooting, and enhancing the fire’s accuracy. On the other hand, the operation of the Ka-52 M shall be facilitated in areas with cold climates by the heated blades. 

Naval Ka-52

A contract for 46 naval versions of the Ka-52 helicopters was signed by Egypt in 2015, making it the first foreign country to purchase the helicopter. Currently, the helicopters are being used on land and Egyptian universal amphibious assault ships, although the chassis and structure have been reinforced, keeping the possibility of landing on a swinging deck in view. The helicopter is treated with anti-corrosion chemicals. In addition, the helicopters were also provided with folding blades and wings to be placed in the internal hangars of ships, raised and lowered on special elevators.

KA-52 in war

KA-52’s have been used to liberate Palmyra and the operations in the Syrian Arab Republic. Naval Ka-52K has been testing onboard the aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov” and the shores of Syria in 2016-17. They are also said to have taken part in battles with extremists.

In September this year, reports suggested that China intended to acquire around 36 Ka-52K from Russia as China’s defence department wanted to equip their large landing ships with them.

Current status

Currently, the joint state tests of the Ka-52M helicopters are in their final stages. The defence department signed a contract for the supply of 30 such serial helicopters with Russian Helicopters during the Army-2021 forum held in August 2021 and are expected to enter service in 2022-2023.

By 2027, more than a hundred new Ka-52Ms were planned to be acquired by the Russian forces, as announced by the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Alexei Krivoruchko.

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