The Russian government has cut all funding for development of the Kamov Ka-50/52 attack helicopter from its 2005 budget, in a move which is likely to spell the end for the troubled programme and confirm selection of the Rostvertol Mi-28N for Russian army requirements.
According to Russian daily Izvestia, a closed meeting of the Russian defence ministry has been in progress since 23 October on spending for military helicopter projects. A source quoted by Izvestia within the air force high command claims that the defence ministry is focusing exclusively on development of the Mi-28N.
The Ka-52 programme received Rb8 million ($275,000) in funding for completion of flight testing in 2004 and would have received Rb5 million next year, according to Kamov general designer Sergei Mikheyev.
The cuts follow a decision by the air force in December 2003 that "the Mi-28N has become the main combat helicopter for Russia". The cut in funding is likely to be the final straw for the Ka-50/52, which lost an export competition in Turkey to the Bell AH-1Z Cobra and is unlikely to find an export customer without further development or orders in Russia.
HOWARD GETHIN / MOSCOW
Source: Flight International