The Kamov Ka-50 “Black Shark” is a single-seat Russian attack helicopter with the distinctive coaxial rotor system of the Kamov design bureau. It was designed in the 1980s and adopted for service in the Russian army in 1995. It is currently manufactured by the Progress company in Arsenyev. It is being used as a heavily armed scout helicopter.
Kamov also designed two-seat variant, the Kamov Ka-52 “Alligator”. In comparison to the original Ka-50, it has a “softer” nose profile and a radar system with two antennas—mast-mounted for aerial targets and nose-mounted for ground targets. “Samshit” day-and-night TV/thermal sighting system in two spherical turrets (one over the cockpit and the second under the nose) are also present. The Ka-52 retains the side-mounted cannon of the original Ka-50. It features six wing-mounted hardpoints as opposed to four on the Ka-50. In order to keep the weight and performance on par with that of the Ka-50, some trade-offs were introduced to the design; the scale of the armour plating and the capacity of the cannon magazine/feed have been reduced. Despite the introductions, some flight parameters have deteriorated; rate of climb is 8 m/s (vs. 10 m/s), maximum positive load factor is 3.0 g. Most of the problems were solved by installing or remotorising with new VK-2500 engine. The Ka-52 is approved for day, night and adverse.