Heavily armed Russian Ka-29 helicopters are preparing for Arctic operations

MOSCOW, (BM) – In the Arctic, the squadrons of “sea hunters” are involved – modernized Ka-29 helicopters. The first to use these unique combat vehicles were the Pacific Fleet pilots from Kamchatka.

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Starting this year, the Ka-29 is being prepared for operations in the Arctic: in 2021, helicopter pilots from the Northern Fleet will start working there. Machines will be used to supply military bases, transfer troops and patrol the polar region.

Ka-29, according to experts, are universal, they not only have powerful weapons, but can also take on board several tons of cargo.

Sky wagon

As sources in the military department told Izvestia, a fundamental decision on the use of the Ka-29 in the Arctic region has already been made. Until recently, Mi-8AMTSh helicopters (including a special “Arctic” version), Mi-26, and sometimes deck-based Ka-27s were mainly used here.

“Sea hunters”, who are to defend the Arctic, are part of the 317th mixed aviation regiment, based near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In total, he is armed with two detachments of four vehicles each. Following Kamchatka, the first updated Ka-29s strengthened the aviation units of the Northern Fleet.

The upgraded aircraft became part of the 830th separate naval anti-submarine helicopter regiment, which is based near the city of Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula.

The Ka-29 helicopter was mass-produced in the 1980s, but it is still not outdated, military expert Dmitry Boltenkov noted.

“Kamovs can operate both from land and from the side of the ship,” he told Izvestia. “After modernization, the machine will be in demand for a long time, thanks to its firepower, carrying capacity and unique landing capabilities. In the Arctic, Ka-29s can patrol uninhabited Arctic territories, take part in anti-sabotage and rescue operations, and also engage in supplying remote northern garrisons and military bases.”

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Now the Ka-29 crews are actively mastering the technology. In June, exercises were held in Kamchatka, in which Pacific fleet helicopters took part: pilots attacked coastal and surface targets of a conditional enemy.

In particular, they destroyed targets denoting fortified firing points, military equipment and personnel of the landing. Shooting was carried out by 80-mm unguided aircraft missiles and GS-23 aircraft guns. And most recently, North Sea pilots, in difficult meteorological conditions, worked out landing support and checked the navigational training of navigators when performing tasks in the Far North.

Gift for the Rhino

In total, more than 60 Ka-29s were manufactured. Initially, they were intended for the transport of goods, disembarkation from ships of the marines, as well as support for landings by fire.

It was planned that the new equipment will greatly expand the capabilities of the large landing ships of Project 1174 Rhino, capable of carrying four helicopters. But after the reduction in the composition of the military fleets, almost all the vehicles were put into storage – in the north of the European part of the country and in Kamchatka.

“The fact that helicopters returned to service after 25 years of inactivity shows the potential and good potential of our industry,” said Dmitry Boltenkov.

In recent years, a program has been adopted to repair, update and restore the technical readiness of the fleet of Ka-29 fleets. On the modernized helicopters, the rotor columns, engines and gearboxes were changed, and the paintwork was updated. But most importantly, they received modern weapons and electronic “stuffing.”

The helicopter can carry 16 paratroopers with a cruising speed of 235 km / h. Four weapons suspension points allow the use of unguided rocket blocks, cannon containers and air bombs. He is also able to use anti-tank missile systems “Sturm-B” and “Attack”.

Read more: Russian landing troops exercises in the Arctic are bad news for Norway

The helicopter cockpit, vital units and engine have a reservation that withstands hit by rifle caliber bullets. For these qualities, the Ka-29 is often also called a flying infantry fighting vehicle. In addition, it provides for the installation of screens on exhaust devices of engines. They help protect the machine from missiles with thermal homing heads and optical-electronic interference stations.

Proven by time

This Kamov machine is a time-tested technique. In the cabin, it can carry up to two tons of cargo, on an external sling – up to four. For comparison, the Mi-8, the main domestic helicopter, raises about three tons on the external sling.

Such helicopter capabilities are in demand when transporting cargo or personnel between ships and when supplying remote Arctic garrisons. In particular, the so-called “Arctic Shamrocks” – fully autonomous military bases. The most famous of them is located on Alexandra Land – the island of Franz Josef Land archipelago.

On the island of Kotelny archipelago of the Novosibirsk Islands built base “Northern Clover”. On the island of Wrangel – the town of “Polar” star. “ There is a similar base at Cape Otto Schmidt in Chukotka.

As a rule, they have deployed radar posts, aviation guidance points and airfields protecting the Northern Sea Route and Russian borders from the North. Such garrisons are powerful outposts covering the Central, Ural and Siberian industrial regions of the country.

Now the Armed Forces are conducting large-scale modernization of helicopters. Last year, in Syria, the verification of the latest Mi-28NM combat helicopter was completed. In addition, in the near future, the Mi-35M helicopter upgrade program will start: they will install new armor, engines and long-range optics, which will allow finding targets and destroying them at a distance of several kilometers.

Read more: Washington is concerned by the Russian military facilities in the Arctic

For the modernized Ka-52M, equipment is being developed for direct communication with unmanned aerial vehicles. It will allow in real time to see the image transmitted by the drones, and in the future – and control their flight. New technology will enable the crew to find targets behind enemy lines and deliver sudden strikes.


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