Can the Ka-50 fighter helicopter appear in the VKS again?

Two Ka-50s in the sky over Moscow. Photo: Pichugin

The Ka-50 is the predecessor of the Ka-52 “Alligator”, which confirms the high combat effectiveness in the Ukraine. It could become the first fighter helicopter capable of effectively fighting drones. In fact, fifteen years ago, Russian military aviation could receive the world's first fighter helicopter, sharpened for shooting down UAVs. However, then the military did not like the “single-seat” this combat vehicle, and its production has ceased. However, in the current conditions, there is a chance that the helicopter will get a second life.

Drone hunter

According to experts, the Ka-50 is an ideal interceptor helicopter for destroying small and inconspicuous targets, which can give it a second life. Its high maneuverability allows you to quickly respond to a threat and destroy widely used drones. Today, its capabilities would only increase due to the integration of the helicopter into the unified air defense information field. Since the Ka-50 was originally designed according to an open architecture scheme, this should not be a big deal. To solve new problems, it is proposed to equip the helicopter with the Spear radar. and optical-electronic sighting system. As a weapon, it is permissible to use R-77 air-to-air guided missiles, homing missiles of the Igla type, and also the promising Hermes multi-purpose missile system.


Up to                  ) In addition, the helicopter is equipped with a 2A42 cannon of 30 mm caliber, which can fire both high-explosive fragmentation shells at a rate of 550 rounds per minute, and armor-piercing shells.

Flying alone and on  “autopilot”

The main feature of the Ka-50 is that it single-seat, in Russia still all attack helicopters are two-seat. The second crew member — this is the operator responsible for guiding the missiles to the target. The developers of the “Black Shark”, as the Ka-50 was called, already then decided that the achievements of the domestic defense industry would allow the pilot to perform the functions of an operator. And Ka-50 really became a unique helicopter in terms of electronic stuffing.

 To a large extent, the flight is automated — The work of the pilot is simplified by the on-board computer. The dashboard consists of several LCD screens, which display all the information about what is happening on the battlefield. To conduct reconnaissance of ground targets, infrared and television sensors are installed on the helicopter, which allow you to determine the target at a distance of up to 20 kilometers at night and 13 kilometers during the day, which means that the Ka-50 was able to strike, entering into air defense zone.

The layout allows you to significantly reduce the weight of the device, and therefore improve flight performance. The disadvantage of such a scheme — the fact that in the event of the death or injury of the pilot, the helicopter will crash with a high degree of probability. To avoid this, the developers have provided an automated system, thanks to which the combat vehicle can return to base on its own in autopilot mode.

Combat use

Two K-50s took part in combat operations on the territory of the Chechen Republic. Helicopters performed 49 sorties, conducted more than 100 firings (920 rockets and 1600 cannon charges were used up). In general, the combat use of these helicopters was considered successful. The helicopter turned out to be better than the Mi-24 in terms of navigation, combat effectiveness and maneuverability. In addition, good cockpit armor, the presence of an ejection system and flight automation allowed the pilot to be less nervous, concentrating on the combat mission.

Movie Star Helicopter

In 1993, the film “Black Shark” was released — its main character was a real combat helicopter K-50. The action of the film takes place in Afghanistan, although this helicopter had no real combat use in this country. The huge popularity of the film was ensured by the fact that for the first time the screens showed the latest military equipment, which had previously been classified. And this made the Ka-50 the most popular Russian military helicopter. However, fame did not save the helicopter, in 2009 its production was discontinued, by that time only 15 machines of this class had been built. The reason was the criticism of the single-seat scheme and the development of a two-seat modification of the Ka-52 helicopter.


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