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Ka-52M helicopters to interact with drones.

| 2020

The latest Ka-52M helicopter gunships will be able to interact with drones due to special onboard communication equipment and controls. Pilots will see images from drones in real time and control drone flight in future. The new hardware will help pilots find targets in enemy rear and deliver surprise strikes, the Izvestia daily writes.

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Ka 52M helicopters to interact with drones 01 Russian-made Kamov Ka-52M attack helicopter (Picture source Twitter account Spriter)

Upgraded Ka-52M will have direct communications with a drone, defense industry and military sources said. The technical assignment for the new system has been formed and included into the project.

Helicopter crew will receive information from nearby drones in real time and will see the stream on their displays. Target information will be automatically transmitted to the sight of the gunships for engagement of new long-range missiles, the sources said. In future, Ka-52M will be able to control drones and interact with UAV with artificial intelligence elements.

Two serial Ka-52 will be upgraded to Ka-52M level by the end of the year. They will undergo preliminary and acceptance trials which are to be completed by the end of 2022.

Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Boginsky said a long-term contract was likely this year for upgraded Ka-52M similar in scope to the deal for 96 Mi-28NM. The Defense Ministry wants to procure 114 upgraded Kamov reconnaissance helicopter gunships.

“A drone operating on the battlefield together with Ka-52 will play an important role, engage in reconnaissance and provide guidance,” expert Viktor Murakhovsky said.

Drones will find targets and bypass dangerous adversary air defense areas. It will help helicopters engage long-range missiles. Helicopter crew will operate with minimal risk and maximum effectiveness.

The United States pioneered interaction of combat craft and drones in Afghanistan. Apache AH-64E was upgraded with communications with Grey Eagle and Army Shadow small drones.

US helicopter pilots can see the stream from a drone and adjust its flight plan. The Pentagon said the possibility was useful for detection of moving targets. In some cases drones operated a hundred kilometers away from the helicopter.

The Russian armed forces are creating a single reconnaissance-information space, Murakhovsky said. It will unite all troops from the Aerospace Forces and air defense to attack weapons of the Ground Forces. Ka-52 interaction with drones is a part of it. “Everybody will exchange information with each other. It will increase combat effectiveness in close to real time and implement the capabilities of reconnaissance-strike and reconnaissance-fire forces. The single guidance system will search for adversary strategic and tactical reconnaissance means, such as space satellites, air defense radars, AEW aircraft, helicopters, drones and other combat systems,” he said.

The data will be transmitted to the single automatic arms and troops control system which will engage artificial intelligence elements to select weapons capable of fulfilling various missions. Ka-52 is among them. The automatic control will select munitions and provide the area for attack. If necessary, it will change the flight mission and provide guidance for more important positions and hardware, the Izvestia said.

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