Russian Ka-52 “Flying Crocodile”: The Unrivaled God of Tank Destruction
The recent impressive combat performances continue to prove that Russia’s Ka-52 attack helicopter is truly a “tank killer”.
The Ka-52 helicopter has long been known as a fearsome weapon on the battlefield. However, only when they actually fought with better performance than expected, military observers had a full view of the power of this helicopter.
Equipped with a series of powerful weapons, notably Vikhr anti-tank missiles, the Ka-52 helicopter is really a nightmare for any opposing force. Each Ka-52 can carry 8-10 Vikhr anti-tank missiles to chase enemy armored forces. Even the Leopard 2A6 tank and the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, the leading weapons in the Western armored forces, were destroyed. Russia claims about 10 Leopard tanks, including Kiev’s A4 and A6 versions, were destroyed by Ka-52 helicopters.
The Ka-52 is a two-seat attack helicopter developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1980s to compete with Western attack helicopters. The work was not completed, the Soviet Union disintegrated, the helicopter continued to be completed and put into service by Russia. The main rotors are coaxially positioned, eliminating the need for a countering tail rotor unit. This is the characteristic design of Kamov’s helicopters, allowing Ka-52 to perform very flexible maneuvers, not inferior to fixed-wing aircraft. Ka-52 can reach a top speed of 310 km/h, a service ceiling of 5.5 km, ferry range is 1,100 km with a combat radius of about 460 km.
Designer Sergey Mikheev has managed to create a powerful offensive “beast” that based on the best traditions of former Soviet design and still meets modern standards. The fuselage is well protected from 23mm bullets. The Ka-52 uses a twin-seat cockpit, side by side. Both pilots have complete control of the helicopter.
The modern glass cockpit is equipped with a head-up-display (HUD), four SMD 66 multifunction displays, helmet-mounted sight display, image intensifiers and a GPS receiver. The helicopter also integrates a FAZOTRON cabin desk radio-locator and navigation and attack system for helicopters (NASH). The avionics suite is all-modern, with a high level of automation for reduced crew workloads.
The Ka-52 retains all combat capabilities of its predecessor. It is armed with a side mounted 30 mm Shipunov 2A42 cannon – dual feeding AP or HE-Frag. It can carry a variety of weapon combinations on hard points, including anti-tank missiles, air-to-air missiles, unguided rockets, bombs. For anti-armor missions it is armed with up to 12 Vikhr ATGMs. The Vikhr missiles are capable of defeating even the most protected main battle tanks.
Ka-52 helicopters are designed to engage enemy armoured and unarmoured ground targets, low-speed aerial targets and personnel at the frontline and in tactical depth. It is also deployed as a surveillance platform and aerial command post for a group of attack helicopters.
According to the Avia.Pro, the Russian Army is likely to equip the Hermes-A anti-tank guided missiles for the Ka-52 “Alligator” attack helicopters in the near future. With the Hermes missile, the Alligator can attack targets from a distance of up to 100km with a maximum deviation of only 0.5m. Each Ka-52 can carry up to eight Hermes missiles, which is more than enough for it to completely wipe out a company of enemy tanks.
Extremely good maneuverability, operation in all weather conditions, superior armor, high-tech avionics and armed to the teeth, turned the Ka-52 into a real “beast”. The Ka-52 helicopter is one of the main Russian airborne weapons in the military campaign in Ukraine. Despite certain losses, however, in general, the Ka-52 is still a formidable weapon on the battlefield.