Russia launched first-of-its-kind helicopter pilot training ship

According to sources from Izvestia, the Nikolay Kamov project of 14400 special naval vessels is scheduled to join the Navy by the end of the year. This vessel is a nod to Soviet-era aircraft designer, Nikolay Kamov, esteemed for his creation of the Ka helicopters. Its primary purpose is to train naval aviation helicopter crews. 

Russia launched first-of-its-kind helicopter pilot training ship
Photo credit: Russian MoD

With this naval simulator, pilots can refine their skills in scenarios that closely mimic combat, eliminating the need for Russian fleet aircraft carriers. Nikolay Kamov will be stationed in Yeisk on the Sea of Azov. What makes this endeavor unique, experts say, is the fact that neither the Soviet nor Russian fleets have ever owned a ship of this class before.

Helicopter simulator

Former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, shared with Izvestia that the vessel serves as a unique simulator. This specialized platform allows naval aviation pilots to impactfully sharpen their skills in helicopter take-offs and landings. 

Dmitry Boltenkov, a military expert, emphasizes the gravity of the situation while reflecting on the substantial time invested in the creation of this ship. He says, “Landing on a helideck can prove to be trickier than a standard airstrip. The ship is now destined for the Navy’s Center for Training and Retraining of Naval Aviation in Yeisk. It’s heartening to see the vessel pay tribute to Kamov, the pioneer behind a vast family of ship-based helicopters currently serving in our fleet.” 

The ship’s multifunctional capabilities are reinforced by ex-Chief of Naval Aviation of the Navy and Hero of Russia, Major General Igor Kozhin, who says, “Not only will this ship significantly save time and financial resources, it will also notably enhance the quality of work. The vessel is specifically designed and equipped to test and develop new systems.”

Ceremony

The Russian Ministry of Defense recently introduced the naval vessel, Nikolay Kamov, in Gorodets, located in the Nizhny Novgorod region. This initiative, marking the Ship Repair and Shipbuilding Corporation’s premier venture into the construction of such specialized naval ships, was a significant achievement. 

According to a source inside the Navy’s main command who spoke with Izvestia, this sophisticated training ship is expected to join the Russian Navy’s fleet by the end of the current year. Following the successful conclusion of state-regulated trials and the execution of a legal acceptance certificate, the ship will officially hoist the naval flag. 

True to longstanding naval customs, the ship’s prestigious commissioning was marked with a solemn illumination ceremony and the classic practice of breaking a champagne bottle against the ship’s hull before its launch.

Russia launched first-of-its-kind helicopter pilot training ship
Russian MoD

The ocean is shaking

As stated by Rear Admiral Ilyas Shigapov, head of the shipbuilding department at the Russian Navy’s central command, the Nikolai Kamov is expected to dock at the 859th center, designed for combat use and retraining of aircrew, in Eysk, a city situated in the Sea of Azov.  

After launching, the submarine underwent rigorous leak inspections and was found to be watertight. It’s scheduled to be transported to the outfitting dock and is expected to shift to the delivery base in August, where it will undergo comprehensive factory sea trials and regulatory tests. Shigapov highlighted a unique feature of the vessel that can replicate the turbulence of a stormy sea surface during calm weather. This simulated environment offers helicopter pilots training experiences that closely resemble actual sea conditions, thereby enhancing their take-off and landing proficiency.  

The Nikolai Kamov submarine boasts a total displacement of less than 900 tons, with measurements approximately 70m in length, a breadth exceeding 12m, and a draft surpassing two meters. Its top speed is recorded at 12 knots, boasting a cruising range near 500 miles and self-sustainability for about two days.

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