Russia's Rosoboronexport has entered into discussions with several CIS nations over potential purchases of the Kamov Ka-52 reconnaissance and combat helicopter, the arms agency's Alexander Dolin has revealed.

"We believe the immediate and most relevant customers are CIS countries, and we are already in discussions," he says, while declining to name individual nations. "These countries traditionally operate Russian weapon systems," he notes, adding that the Alligator is also expected to be popular with Moscow's other "traditional partners".

Kamov Ka-52

Russian Helicopters

Referring to the VK-2500-engined type's high power-to-weight ratio, Dolin says users with a need to perform operations in high altitude and high temperature regions are also seen as potential future buyers. "Asia, Latin America - we've been offering this machine in these regions. We are ready to enter into dialogue with customers to use their own systems, or to tailor the aircraft for their national needs." The aircraft making its show debut this week already incorporates a target and sight system from France's Sagem, for example.

Developed as an intended successor to the Mil Mi-24 using Russia's combat experience in Afghanistan and the Caucasus and with the Ka-50 Black Shark, the coaxial-rotor Ka-52 uses an unusual side-by-side crew configuration, with armoured protection and ejection seats.

"In any niche, this helicopter will be a leader," Dolin believes.

The Ka-52 is among several products being promoted by Rosoboronexport and Russian Helicopters at the show. In service with three Russian military regiments, the aircraft has completed all qualification tests for the domestic customer. This cleared the way for it to be offered to possible customers, Dolin says.

"Versatility is the future trend for combat helicopters - this is the road that we have followed," says Sergey Mikheev, the Kamov design bureau's designer general. "We were thinking 10 years ahead when we designed this aircraft. I think we guessed it right."

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Source: Flight Daily News