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Ka-50 Black Shark/Werewolf Russian attack helicopter

The Kamov Ka-50 is Russian attack helicopter. History of the Kamov Ka-50 (named Black-shark or Werewolf) combat helicopter is almost 20 years old. Its development was initiated after the preliminary project was prepared by the Kamov designing office, in December 1977. The new combat aircraft was intended to become a counterweight to the USA attack machine “AH-64 Apache” which was included in the US Army arsenal in 1976. Mr. Sergei Mikheyev, chief designer of the Kamovs designing office, took that office of the beginning of the 70s, after the Nikolai I. Kamov died, with whom he used to have a close co-operation since as early as the 60s.

Kamov Ka 50 Werewolf – Black Shark

Typical for the predecessors of this helicopter were primarly two symmetrical coaxial rotors. In addition to the older Ka-10s, Ka-15s, and Ka-18s, as well as to Kamov Ka-26s, it was the Ka-27, Ka-29 and Ka-32 types which have been widely used especialy by marine air force. Based on the experience acquired from their operation, a project of a new helicopter designed for ground forces was originated.

The Kamov Ka-50 is a single-seat attack helicopter. It was first attack coaxial helicopters developed by Kamov OKB. Primary user is Russian Air Force since 1995.

The Ka-50 development was started in early 1980s under the codename “V-80Sh-1″. The “Ka-50″ name was first time used in 1992 at airshow in Zhukovskiy (Russia).

The Ka-50 was designed to be very lethal and powerfull small attack helicopter. Like most of Kamov helicopters, it features contra-rotating co-axial rotor system. Since the speed of the advancing rotor tip is a primary limitation to the maximum speed of a helicopter, this allows a faster maximum speed than helicopters such as the American AH-64 Apache (Boeing). Until 2011, only 16 Ka-50 were built.

A high degree of the Kamov Ka-50 survivability is ensured by:

- the pilot’s cockpit fitted with steel plates that can withstand lateral hit of 20 mm projectiles in addition to armored glass 55 mm thick

- protection of fuel tanks, controls, drive system, auxiliary power unit (APU). hydraulic and other systems

- the rotor blades made from super-strong plastic allowing to continue flight despite several direct hits

- the coaxial main rotor configuration without tail rotor and its control systems and gear box radically inreasing the helicopter survivability because when they are hit, a crash is inevetable

- composite materials, that amount thirty-five per cent of the helicopter’s toad-carrying structure, make it possible to avoid secondary destraction effect (splinters) proper to a metal surface

- landing gear and fuselage absorb ground impact overloads.

- If one engine (of two) is destroyed, the Ka-50 can fly with only one.

Ka-50 Equipment

The Kamov Ka-50 is also fitted with an electronic radio and sighting-piloting-navigating system allowing flights at day and night in VFR and IFR weather conditions. The novelty of this avionics is based on the system of precise target designation with digital coded communication system, which ensures the exchange of information (precise enemy coordinates) between helicopters flying far apart from each other and ground command posts as well. The automatic sight system, designated Shkval, ensures detection, identification and precise guidance of ATGMs Vkhr and use of 2A42 gun. The pod containing an IR imager is mounted on the helicopter to provide for effective firing from all types of armament at night.

The Kamov Ka-50 can use different variants of armament weighing about 2,000 kg which are suspended on four suspention points. The pylons can be tilted to a 10-degree downward. Fuel tanks may be mounted on an suspension point, whenever necessary.


The Kamov Ka-50 combat power is based essentially on laser-beam guided supersonic antitank missiles, Vikhr, with a maximum launching range of 10 km and a flexibly mounted 30mm powerful gun. The combined warhead of the supersonic missile includes several different fuzes. All these factors comined with a high-accuracy jam-proof guidance system ensure effective engagement of different ground targets (with Explosive-Reactive Armor 900 mm thick) as well as airborne targets flying at a speed of up to 800 km/h. The pilot selects a required fuze in the flight.

The Kamov Ka-50 2A42 cannon was used from the Army and fully standardized with that using in the BMP-2 mechanized infantry vehicle. The 2A42 gun has a selectable rate of fire and permits selective ammunition supply from two boxes loaded with armorpier-cing and HE fragmentation rounds. The type of ammunition is also selected by the pilot in the flight.

Various prototypes and pre-series versions of the Kamov Ka-50 Werewolf combat helicopter have already been existing for last years. The Kamov Ka-50 Werewolf was gradually modernised. At the beginning of 2011, its advance type identified as the Black Shark underwent challenging tests. It was demonstrated for the first time, both on a static platform and with live fire in progress, on the Maquatra desert polygon, at the world armament exhibition IDEX ’97 in Abu Dhabi, in March 1997.

This is a single-seat version, the main task of which is to destroy armoured technology in night-time conditions. Kamov Ka-50 Black Shark is equipped with a television system working on principle of residual light. The system’s optics can be fixed to a rotary post located at the craft’s front part, and two visual versions, arranged in different way, can be offered. Pilot is equipped with nocto-visual eyepieces for night activities. Integrated with the desk’s television and the SKVAL-V laser target finding and marking set, this modification is intended to improve its night-time combat efficiency by as much as 85 percent. Additional special tasks will be assumed by the two-seater Ka-52 Alligator.

Kamov Ka-50 helicopters were included in the Russian army’s arsenal in the middle of 1995. At the end of 1997, the Kamov Ka-50s are also to be included in the armament of the Slovak army.

Ka-50 Data and Performance

Name: Kamov Ka-50 Werewolf
Role: Attack Helicopter
NATO Code: Hokum A
National Origin: Soviet Union/Russia
First Flight: 1982. Introduction: 1995.
Primary User: Russian Air Force
Service: In Service
Crew: 1 (pilot) Capacity: 1 (pilot)

Length: 15.99 m (52 ft 7 in) Rotor Diameter: 14.45 m (47 ft 6 in)
Height: 5.00 m (16 ft 3 in) Weight: 7,690 kg (17,000 lb)
Loaded Weight: 9,750 kg (21,500 lb) Max. Weight: 10,750 kg (24,000 lb)
Disc Area: 165 m² (1,777 ft²) each
Disc Loading: 30 kg/m² (6 lb/ft²)
Powerplant: 2 × Klimov (TV3-117VK) engines Power: 1,640 kW (2,200 shp)

Max. Speed: 320 km/h (171 kt, 200 mph) Cruise Speed: 270 km/h (135 kt, 170 mph)
Dive Speed: 390 km/h (210 kt, 242 mph)
Sideways Speed: 80 km/h (43 kt, 49 mph)
Back. Speed: 90 km/h (48 kt, 55 mph)
Endurance: 1h 40min (2h 50min ext.)
Range: 550 km (292 nm, 340 mi)
Max. Range: 920 km (495 nm, 560 mi)
Combat Range: 450 km (243 nm, 279 mi)
G-limit: +3.5
Fuel Capacity: 1,900 litres (500 gallon)
Fuel Economy: 0.490 km/l (1.15 NM/gallon)
Rate Of Climb: 10.5 m/s (34 ft/s)
Service Ceiling: 5,500 m (18,000 ft)

Cannon: 1x30mm Shipunov 2A42
Cannon Rounds: 460
Main AA Missile: Vympel R-73 (AA-11 Archer)
Air-to-Air Range: 40 km (25 mi)
Main AG Missile: 9A1472 Vikhr
Air-to-Gr. Range: 10 km (6 mi)
Number Built: Limited to 16 (2 Ka-50N) Unit Cost: 24.000.000 USD

Kamov Ka-50 Video

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