Russia will equip its Ka-52 “Alligator” attack helicopters with Vikhr-M anti-tank missiles next year, the Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Sergei Surovikin, said on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected the Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft and weaponry on the sidelines of the ongoing Army-2021 military forum.
“In 2022, we will install them [the missiles] on the helicopter,” Surovikin said when asked by the defense minister when the “Alligator” will be equipped with Vikhr-M.
In addition, Shoigu ordered to continue the modernization of equipment on Ka-52M helicopters, which will allow their crews to carry out military tasks without entering the firing range of enemy missiles.
The two-seat Ka-52 helicopter is a developed version of the single-seat Ka-50 aircraft. It is designed for the elimination of enemy tanks, armored and unarmored vehicles, helicopters and manpower, as well as the reconnaissance of possible targets. The Vikhr-M is an upgrade of the Vikhr missile system that has improved combat capabilities.
Earlier in August, Russian Helicopters JSC, part of Russia’s state aerospace and defense conglomerate Rostec, has signed a deal with the country’s Defense Ministry for the design and production of Ka-52M helicopters for the navy until 2023, the holding’s CEO Andrey Boginsky told Sputnik.
“This year we have signed a contract to continue the R&D for the navy version of the Ka-52M. The work is underway, and it should be completed in 2023. We are now communicating with the naval aviation on the standardization of the sea version and the land version,” Boginsky said.
He noted that, as part of the previous R&D, Russian Helicopters JSC had already built four models of the Ka-52 helicopter, which conducted test-landings on the deck of the Russian Navy ships.
“Now our task is to ‘unify’ the future Ka-52KM with the land version and test it together with the carriers,” Boginsky said.
Helicopters of the Ka-52 type are expected to be primarily based on the Project 23900 universal amphibious assault ships and helicopter carriers, which are currently under construction at the shipyard in Kerch, Crimea.