Russia’s state-owned Rostec Corporation will present a modernized Ka-32A11M fire-fighting helicopter at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon, to be held in Zhukovsky near Moscow in July.
Ka-32 modernization program includes a glass cockpit with an avionics system, more powerful VK-2500PS-02 engines, and a new fire extinguishing system.
“Ka-32 is recognized all over the world as one of the best helicopters for firefighting work. Nevertheless, even the best models need timely modernization. We have managed to preserve the outstanding flight performance of the model, supplementing it with modern avionics and a new, more efficient and multifunctional fire extinguishing system,” said Andrey Boginsky, Director General of Russian Helicopters, a part of Rostec.
A prototype of Ka-32A11M will be displayed at the MAKS-2021 air show and we are planning to start supplying the aircraft as early as next year,” he added.
The technical solutions used in the new glass cockpit of Ka-32A11M have already been tested on Ansat and Mi-38 civil multipurpose helicopters, and will facilitate the work with additional navigation, optoelectronic and search equipment that can be installed on the helicopter. Pilots will also be able to use night vision goggles.
With the new VK-2500PS-02 engines, the rotorcraft will perform significantly better in hot and mountainous environments. According to design calculations, its load capacity in such conditions will increase by 1600 kg.
The new SP-32 fire extinguishing system, developed by specialists from the National Helicopter Center Мil & Kamov and KAPE, has received a number of significant advantages over foreign counterparts. The new tank holds 4 tons of water and is divided into 4 compartments. The patented digitally controlled discharge system allows the flaps to be opened in pairs or alternately, and to adjust the opening angles, thereby increasing the water discharge time.
The system automation allows to accurately take in 4 tons of water in 60 seconds, as well as add up to 400 liters of foam agent. It has also been adapted to use a water cannon. In addition, all SP-32 systems are electrically heated, which allows it to be used in unprecedented winter conditions at temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
“The coaxial design of Ka-32 has a number of serious advantages. Above all, it provides stable hover mode and excellent crosswind stability. Due to the absence of a tail rotor, the helicopter dimensions are reduced, which makes it more maneuverable,” said Emil Hristov, an engineer at Kamov Project of HeliSwiss International.
In Switzerland, Ka-32 is used as an air crane in the mountains. Equipping the helicopter with new, more powerful engines will benefit it by improving flight performance at altitudes above 2000 meters of sea level, according to Hristov.
Serial production of Ka-32 machines is carried out by JSC Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise (KAPE). Currently, over 240 machines have been built, which are operated in over 30 countries all over the world.