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Seaworthy: Ka-52 helicopter OK'd for Mistral carrier

Russia’s state-of-the-art Kamov Ka-52 combat helicopter has passed all tests to be approved for deployment on Navy vessels. The aircraft will be used with Mistral-class carriers, which Russia buys from France.

During a two-week trial in the Barents Sea, a modified Ka-52 successfully performed various maneuvers, including landing on a moving vessel. The aircraft’s landing gear proved sufficiently robust to withstand the tilting of the ship. The helicopter was piloted by Naval aviation veteran, Vitaly Lebedev.

“The main part of the work is over. The helicopter has been tested in all modes of operation,”

said a statement from the Northern Fleet, which provided the anti-submarine ship “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” for the tests.

The military believes the Ka-52 has proved itself capable of being deployed from any suitable vessel of the same class or bigger. That includes the French Mistral-class helicopter carriers, two of which Russia bought earlier this year. Moscow is in negotiations with Paris about building two similar vessels in Russia on license. The Ka-52 is tipped to become the helicopter of choice for the French vessels.

The Kamov Ka-52 “Alligator” is a two-seat twin-rotor multitask combat aircraft based on the design of the Ka-42 helicopter. It has a top speed of 310 kph and practical range of 520 kilometers. It has an advanced targeting system, which allows distribution of targets between several helicopters acting as a team.