The complete article from Izvestia:
"Superalligator" for a billion: The Defense Ministry approved the price of new helicopters
Despite the increased price tag, the Ka-52M attack aircraft are still cheaper than their Western competitors
The Defense Ministry has agreed on the price for the first samples of Ka-52M helicopters. Each of them will cost more than a billion rubles, Izvestia found out. Upgraded vehicles with improved optics, radar and long-range weapons are now completing tests — the Ministry of Defense has already signed a contract with manufacturers for the supply of the first batch of 30 units. In terms of price, the new helicopters are close to the S-30SM fighters that were purchased in previous years. However, experts note that this amount is still much lower than that of competitors in the global arms market.
Technology per billion
The first upgraded Ka-52M will cost 1 billion 75 million rubles each, according to the aircraft insurance documents available to Izvestia. However, this is the price of a "naked ""Superalligator" — it does not include ammunition and ground equipment, spare parts and other accessories. In fact, the Ka-52M cost is very close to the Su-30SM multi-purpose fighters (1 billion 187 million rubles). At the same time, the Superalligator is much cheaper than the Su-35S (2 billion 287 million rubles) and the Su-57, which costs the military department more than 3 billion rubles per board.
State joint testing of the Ka-52M is currently in its final stages. In August 2021, at the Army-2021 forum, the Defense Ministry signed a contract with Russian Helicopters for the supply of the first 30 production helicopters of this type. They should enter the army in 2022-2023.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko announced plans for the military department to purchase more than a hundred new Ka-52MS by 2027.
"Superalligators" at the current exchange rate are worth about $15 million. Similar helicopters of the United States or European countries are much more expensive, said military expert Andrey Frolov.
"At the beginning of this year, the Americans signed a contract to supply Australia with Apache helicopters, "he told Izvestia. - It is clear that it contains items on maintenance, training and a number of others, but the price is nevertheless much higher than ours — $115 million apiece. The lighter American Super Cobra sells for $75 million. European Tiger, regardless of configuration, is also significantly more expensive than the Ka-52M. The cheapest of them for an internal customer 10 years ago cost €27 million, the more advanced one — 35 million. They were sold to Australians for about $44 million per unit. Clearly, prices have only gone up since then.
But we must take into account that a little over a billion rubles for the Ka-52M is a price for an internal customer, the expert noted.
"There will be a different final price tag for buyers from abroad," he explained. — This practice is widespread all over the world. The Russian Mi-8 and Mi-17 transport planes are sold abroad for more than $30 million per unit, and the Ka-52M combat aircraft will be much more expensive. But it will still be more accessible than its foreign counterparts.
Alligators for export
In May 2021, the head of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, announced plans to bring the upgraded Ka-52M to the international market after completing their tests.
The naval version of the original Ka-52 is already in service in Egypt. In 2015, this country signed a contract for 46 such helicopters, becoming their first foreign customer. They are used both on land and on Egyptian universal landing ships-docks. For the possibility of landing on a swinging deck, they reinforced the landing gear and structure. The developers also took care of the anti-corrosion treatment for operations at sea. In addition, the helicopters received folding blades and wings so that they can be placed in internal hangars, raised and lowered on special elevators.
Deliveries to Egypt began in 2017. Russian combat vehicles are used here in parallel with the previously purchased American AH-64D Apache. In recent years, they have been seen operating together in major exercises.
The usual "Alligators" have already been tested in real battles. They fought with the Syrian Arab Republic, including being used to liberate Palmyra. In 2016-2017, several sea-going Ka-52KS were tested on board the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier during its cruise to the coast of Syria. They also took part in battles with extremists.
In September of this year, it was reported that China was considering purchasing 36 Ka-52K helicopters from Russia. The country's defense ministry wants to equip its large amphibious ships with them.
"Super" for Russia
The decision to upgrade the Ka-52 was made after studying the combat experience of using the machine in Syria. The actions of the helicopters were recognized as successful, but also identified areas that require improvement.
The Defense Ministry signed a contract for development work in April 2019. The first of two prototypes of the Ka-52M took off on August 10 last year, and their tests should finally be completed in 2022.
Combat vehicles are seriously updated. The helicopter received an improved optoelectronic system that will allow it to detect targets at a much longer distance, especially at night. The new radar station with an active phased array will allow you to feel more confident when flying at low altitude in difficult weather conditions, as well as be used to detect ground and air enemies.
In addition, the new radar will ensure the effective use of the most long-range missiles. The KA-52M, as well as the Mi-28NM, will be equipped with a new light multi-purpose guided missile, known as the Product 305. There was also information about plans to use even more long-range Hermes-A complexes from these vehicles.
For better interaction with the troops, the helicopter will be able to automatically pair with the Sagittarius reconnaissance, control and communications complex. This will help scouts and gunners from the ground directly transmit the coordinates of targets to the crews.
The new digital drive of the 30-millimeter cannon will allow you to hold the target more confidently in the sight and improve the stabilization when shooting, and therefore the accuracy of fire. Heated blades will facilitate the operation of the Ka-52M in areas with a cold climate.