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Both the Mil Mi-28 “Havoc” Night Hunter and the Ka-52 “Hokum” or Alligator attack
helicopters were once troubled programs, but are now maturing into service and
being offered for export as Russia tries to win back helicopter markets it once
held firmly with sales of the Hip and the Hind. These markets have been hit hard
by sales of Western types such as the Boeing AH-64 Apache. The new wave of
renewal means that by 2020 the Russian military services will be equipped with
around 1,000 new-build helicopters.



The Ka-52 and Mi-28 are linchpins of this modernization, but the choice to integrate
both surprised many observers who thought that there would only be room for one
attack helicopter in the future inventory. But senior commanders point out that
the complex and heavily armed Mi-28 is more suited for operations west of the
Urals, while the Ka-52 with its unique co-axial configuration and robustness may
be more appropriate for the more remote regions of the country. Back in the
1990s, commanders selected the Ka-50—the Ka-52's single-seat predecessor—as the
country's primary attack helo, but it did not enter service in significant numbers. A decade later officials reexamined this option, and the Mi-28 was revived.


With increasing numbers now joining the Russian air force, the Mi-28 is enjoying
significant interest from export customers. Russian Helicopters, and Rosoboron
export contracts may replace some of the sizable fleet of Mi-24 and Mi-35 Hinds
which remain in service today. The existing fleet of Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters will be fully replaced with new-generation Mi-28N Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters by
2015., and Ka-52 helicopter tests have begun. The Ka-52 is a twin-seat derivative of the Ka-50 Hokum-A attack helicopter, and is designed primarily for reconnaissance and target designation purposes. It is similar to the U.S. AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

 


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