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China Interested in Armed Russian Ship-Borne Helicopter

The Chinese navy is considering the purchase of three dozen Russian Kamov Ka-52K helicopters, Russian news outlet revealed.

According to the Moscow-based news agency, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) wants to operate the craft from the Type 075 amphibious assault vessel, adding that a Chinese delegation visited the helicopter production line in Russia’s Primorye region.

The Kamov Ka-52K Katran helicopter is the ship-borne version of the Ka-52 Alligator reconnaissance and combat helicopter. 

Ship-borne Aircraft

A researcher from Beijing’s Yuan Wang military science and technology, Zhou Chenming, told South China Morning Post that the rotorcraft’s folding blades, wings, and higher take-off weight make it an ideal fit for the vessel. The helicopter’s take-off weight is 12.2 tons, about 1.4 tons more than the original Ka-52, according to the Hong Kong-based outlet.

The Ka-52K’s two-seat cockpit allows either of the pilots to operate the aircraft and is the only aircraft in the world with an ejection seat. 

The Ka-52K is equipped with a 2A42-1 30mm automatic cannon that uses “high-fragmentation, explosive incendiary, or armor-piercing rounds,” according to Naval technology. It can also be fitted with Kh-31 and Kh-35 air-to-surface missiles.

Why China Needs it

According to South China Morning Post, the Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD), three launched and five more in the pipeline, will greatly enhance Beijing’s amphibious capabilities to launch offensive operations in the South China Sea. 

However, the outlet added that the country’s inability to develop an armed heavy helicopter has been a restriction to fulfilling the vessel’s offensive potential. Though the country is developing indigenous armed helicopters for the vessel, which has a displacement of over 30,000 tons and can accommodate 28 helicopters, the development process will take time, the outlet quoted the source as saying. 

“The People’s Liberation Army has studied the possibility of buying Russian Ka-52Ks for quite a long time. The Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) needs a heavy attack helicopter,” Chenming added.


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