The "flying tanks" that support the offensive impulse of infantry, which strike point impacts from extremely low altitudes, find small targets in any, even very low, appearances - all these definitions are inherent in a special class of combat aviation, namely attack helicopters. Like terrestrial armored vehicles, they must possess such important properties as high security, maneuverability and firepower. In Russia, similar machines began to create relatively recently, but have already achieved impressive results. The last word of design thought was the Ka-52 "Alligator" helicopter, which absorbed all the useful features of well-known foreign and domestic analogues, but in many respects outstripped the time.
Formation of the image of a shock helicopter
Helicopters were used in the army since the end of World War II. The attitude of the Allied armies to them (the USSR did not have them) differed at this stage in a certain skepticism. Combat load "Copter" could not take much, for landing landings also seemed of little use, slow-moving, the range of action is limited - why can you use such a "toy", unhelpful and vulnerable? In Korea, the helicopters began to use helicopters more widely, mainly to evacuate the wounded, which immediately affected the death rate (the "golden hour" played a role, during which it is necessary to deliver the bleeding soldier to the operating table).
In Vietnam, the rotors were already in the top positions in efficiency, they were used both for medical transportation and as "horses of air cavalry". In the second half of this inglorious war, shock specimens also appeared ("Cobra"). More often for this purpose, simply re-equipped the usual "Huey", armed it with cassettes of rockets and machine guns. Nevertheless, the first step was taken, a new class of aircraft engineering was born. Modern helicopters have a clear functional division. Shock cars attack enemy positions, transport vehicles deliver cargo and take the wounded.
In the USSR and Russia
Approximately the same evolution, as well as abroad, step by step passed and the domestic aircraft construction, though with some delay. Russian combat helicopters of the first generations were also created on the basis of universal models by retrofitting and re-equipment. The Mi-4 became the first car, which in the military version has built-in small arms. The most massive rotorcraft Mi-8 received rockets on external pylons, on its base (the powerplant was borrowed in full), the famous "Crocodile", a Mi-24 veteran of Afghanistan, was designed, which, however, was repeatedly criticized by military specialists for its universality. In order to effectively perform shock functions, it was too heavy, and for landing, its capacity is not enough. Meanwhile, the experience accumulated by the Americans dictated the need for narrow specialization. "Black Shark" Ka-50 was the first and immediately quite a successful response to their "Apache". Further development of the concept is the combat helicopter Alligator.
"The first pancake"
The Ka-52 was conceived and created in the face of the worst economic crisis that prevailed in the country after the collapse of the USSR. The first prototype in order to save material resources was designed in 1994 as a variant of the "Black Shark" for two crew members, while maintaining the maximum range of components. The desire for cheapening in itself is commendable and very often quite justifiable, but in this case it turned out to be only partially relevant. Angular and heavy, and most importantly - too noticeable for enemy radars was the first Alligator helicopter. Its characteristics deteriorated significantly in comparison with the prototype. As a result, the state commission sent the project for revision, not "hacking", however, its final and giving preference to the Mi-28 Mi-28. The main claims were presented to the glazing and, in general, the entire bow that did not have enough space to accommodate modern avionics, taking into account modifying prospects.
Tests and first attempts at export shipments
Ranging from the eighteenth to the frame and next to your nose the whole structure of the "Black shark" has undergone significant changes. In the fall of 1996, the prototype was ready. The black car with the words "alligator" was shown to the public and from interested professionals. In June 1997, the pilot Alexander Smirnov took to the air and "hung" the first prototype "alligator". The helicopter was managed well, and entered a phase of testing in various trim levels navigation and targeting equipment. An attempt in 1999 to offer his Turkish army did not succeed because, under the terms of the tender, the Assembly of partial equipment was to be made outside Russia, contrary to the considerations of technological security. For the same reason, it minimized the participation in the competition to supply machines for the Republic of Korea (2000). These events certainly influenced the economic situation of KB. Kamov, but the prospects turned out to be ultimately better than expected.
Launching in production
2006 was a happy year: a major breakthrough took place in the advancement of the Kamovka car. The main rival of the Alligator was the Mi-28N KB. Mile, a long time ahead of him on the prospects for further production. Both cars turned out to be so good that the Ministry of Defense for a long time could not choose the best, but in the end adopted a solomonic decision. In the series was launched and Milevsky "Night Hunter", and "Alligator". The Ka-52 helicopter was originally intended to be used by special forces units, and the Mi-28N would be a combined-arms model. These plans over time have changed, although both remarkable machines have found wide application in the Russian army. The base production is located in Primorye, at the Arsenyev Aircraft Plant.
General layout and glider
The Ka-52 Alligator helicopter has a classic scheme for the Kamov Design Bureau with coaxial screws, in which there is no need for a compensating-steering propeller. The tail part is borrowed from the "Black Shark" and is a beam with feathers. The stabilizer is stationary, the horizontal plane is equipped with a steering wheel. The wing has a range of 7 m 30 cm and is equipped with six pylons of external suspension. The chassis is retracted, which reduces visibility and improves aerodynamics. The length of the glider is 14200 mm, the diameter of the screws is 14.5 meters. The weight of the empty machine is 7.8 tons, in the loaded condition - 10.4 tons. Up to 2.3 tons of combat load can carry the Ka-62 Alligator. The helicopter has a stock of fuel in internal treaded tanks up to one and a half tons and more than 2 tons in PTB (suspended). The combat radius depends on the weight of the load and speed, it can reach in the distillation mode thousands of kilometers, or 520 km when flying at low altitude. The maximum speed is 310 km / h, the cruising speed is 270 km / h. The permissible overload is up to 3.5 g. The Russian helicopter "Alligator" is currently the only representative of this class of aircraft in the world, capable of performing aerobatics figures, in particular Nesterov's loop.
Foreign designers of attack helicopters preferred a tandem scheme for locating the crew. Such a landing of a pilot and an armament operator has its advantages, the main of which is a reduction in the cross-section, and, consequently, a decrease in the aerodynamic drag and the area of the frontal defeat. Otherwise, the "Alligator" is designed. The helicopter has sufficient armored protection (special glazing), and in the conditions of modern combat, the danger of side hits by the fragments of shells of portable compact air defense systems is most likely. In the event of a car defeat, the crew is able to leave it through the side doors or catapult after the automatic firing of the blades. The control is ergonomic, duplicated (indication on the windshield, monitors and additional devices). There is also a system of helmet designation, night vision and many other elements of intellectual control both by machine and armament.
Structurally, the power plant includes a large number of polymer bearings, which led to a reduction in lubrication points to three.
Powerful high-speed avionics, able to distinguish and identify targets in a virtually unlimited range (air, ground, slow, speed, etc.), allows to manage the entire range of snap combat helicopter Ka-52. Equipment a high-precision 30-mm rapid-fire artillery system NPPU-80, missiles "air – land" ATGM "Whirlwind" with a laser armament, UR "air – air" ("Igla-V"), containers cannon and bombs of various calibers. Various combinations are possible, depending on what the problem is posed to the crew.
On-board radio electronic equipment allows performing combat work both in individual and in group mode with a high degree of consistency. The weight of the load is affected by the remoteness of the target (the presence of suspended fuel tanks) and additional radio equipment for electronic combat to suppress the activity of enemy air defense. "Alligator" has the ability to creep toward the target on the flooring courses with the bending of obstacles, even such complex ones as power line supports and wires.