By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.
The Egyptian Air Force is the first non-Russian operator of the Kamov Ka-52 combat helicopter. By the end of 2018, the service had taken delivery of approximately 34 Ka-52s, out of an order for 46 of the type. The remaining Ka-52s ordered by the Air Force are scheduled to be delivered in 2019.
The Egyptian Navy formally selected the Ka-52K naval version in 2017 for deployment aboard a pair of Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. As of late 2018, however, a deal had not yet been finalized for the helicopters. Should the transaction proceed, some 32 Ka-52Ks could be procured by the Navy.
Additional export sales of the Ka-52 and/or the Ka-52K are likely to be secured in coming years. The Royal Thai Army is looking to acquire six new attack helicopters. The Ka-52 is among the platforms being considered by the service for this acquisition. The Chinese Navy has indicated interest in the Ka-52K maritime model.
In the meantime, deliveries are ongoing of Ka-52s to the Russian Air Force. Having previously taken delivery of some 48 Ka-52s, the service began taking delivery in 2013 of a follow-on batch of 140 Ka-52s. More than 75 helicopters from this later batch were delivered to the service by the end of 2018.
In February 2018, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced plans for the procurement of an additional batch of 114 Ka-52s under the State Armaments Program for 2018-2027. The helicopters in this batch are to be equipped with Hermes-A anti-tank missiles and an improved optical sighting system.
Future improvements and upgrades planned for the Ka-52 include an increase in payload and installation of a new onboard defense system. The helicopter’s auxiliary power unit is to be fitted with an additional generator in order to enhance reliability. The foldable rotors from the Ka-52K naval variant are to be incorporated into the land-based Ka-52, thus easing maintenance and storage in small hangars.
The Russian Navy plans to procure the Ka-52K. Approximately 32 Ka-52Ks could be acquired by the service. A contract for this acquisition may be signed in 2019.
In August 2017, Russian Helicopters received a contract from the Russian Ministry of Defense to begin development of a new high-speed combat helicopter. The new helicopter is intended to be used to supplement, and possibly eventually replace, the Russian Air Force’s fleet of Ka-52s and Mi-28Ns.