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Ka-52 Kamov
Ka-50 Black Shark
Ka-52 Alligator
ASCC codename: Hokum
Attack Helicopter

The Kamov Ka-50 was designed as the world's first single-seat attack helicopter. Although Kamov had originally developed its coaxial rotor scheme (two counter-rotating rotors on the same shaft) for use aboard ships due its compact size, the design team chose to retain the layout for this ground-based helicopter. The Black Shark uses two powerful turbine engines to attain high speed, and the design also features large stub wings to carry a large range of weapons. The wings also help unload the rotors in forward flight to increase manueverability. Survivability is increased through the placement of 160 lb of armor around the cockpit and heat suppressors around the engines to reduce infrared signature.

The design is unique since it carries only the pilot, but the Ka-50 relies on other helicopters to locate and designate targets, duties typically performed by a second crew member on other attack helicopters. Russian planners believe this tactic will improve the Ka-50's vulnerability to air defenses since the helicopter is only exposed while releasing its weapons. However, a new more advanced version, the Ka-52, is equipped with side-by-side seating and is intended to lead a group of single-seat Ka-50s in combat.

Russia origianlly selected the Ka-50 to go into production at the expense of the rival Mi-28, but both programs have been beset by funding problems since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ka-50 production was halted in 1994 after only 12 had been built, but it is believed production resumed again from 1996 through at least 1998. Both the Ka-50 and Ka-52 are such advanced and capable attack helicopters that they will likely be successfully exported as well. Countries that have expressed interest in the Ka-50 include India, Algeria, Slovakia, Finland, Singapore, Turkey, Malaysia, Myanmar, South Korea, and Syria.

Data below for Ka-50
Last modified 18 September 2009

First Flight (Ka-50) 27 June 1982
(Ka-50N) 5 March 1997
(Ka-52) 25 June 1997
Service Entry

28 August 1995

CREW: (Ka-50) one: pilot
(Ka-52) two: pilot and weapons officer



Rotor Blade Root unknown
Rotor Blade Tip


Length 52.50 ft (16.00 m) rotors turning
49.21 ft (15.00 m) ignoring rotors
Rotor Diameter 47.57 ft (14.50 m)
Wingspan 24.08 ft (7.34 m)
Height 16.17 ft (4.93 m) to top of rotor head
Rotor Disk Area

3,555.0 ft (330.26 m)

Empty 16,955 lb (7,690 kg)
Normal Takeoff (Ka-50) 21,605 lb (9,800 kg)
(Ka-52) 22,930 lb (10,400 kg)
Max Takeoff 23,810 lb (10,800 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 495 gal (1,870 L)
external: up to 580 gal (2,200 L) in four 145 gal (550 L) underwing tanks
Max Payload

6,615 lb (3,000 kg)
3,995 lb (1,810 kg) of expendable weapons

Powerplant two Klimov TV3-117VMA turboshafts
Thrust 4,400 hp (3,280 kW)

Max Level Speed at altitude: unknown
at sea level: 195 mph (310 km/h)
cruise speed: 170 mph (270 km/h)
sideways: 45 mph (70 km/h)
backwards: 55 mph (90 km/h)
dive speed: 215 mph (350 km/h)
Maximum Climb Rate 1,970 ft (600 m) / min
Service Ceiling 18,030 ft (5,500 m)
Hover Ceiling
(out of ground effect)
(Ka-50) 13,125 ft (4,000 m)
(Ka-52) 11,810 ft (3,600 m)
Range typical: 250 nm (460 km)
ferry: 625 nm (1,160 km)
Endurance unknown
g-Limits (Ka-50) +3.5
(Ka-52) +3

Gun one 2A42 30-mm cannon (500 rds max, 280 rds typical)
Stations 2 stub-wings with 4 hardpoints and 2 wingtip hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile R-60/AA-8 Aphid, R-73/AA-11 Archer, Igla-V
Air-to-Surface Missile up to 12 AT-9 Ataka or AT-16 Vikhr anti-tank, Kh-25ML/AS-10 Karen anti-radiation, Kh-25MP/AS-12 Kegler
Bomb FAB-250/500, KAB-500Kr
Other up to four 20-round B-8 80-mm rocket pods, up to four 5-round 122-mm rocket pods, UPK-23-250 gun pod, GUV-8700 machine gun pod, PLAB weapons dispenser, chaff/flare pods

Ka-50 'Hokum-A' Single-seat attack helicopter; 12 built by 1994
Ka-50N Night attack model with a FLIR/LLTV/laser designator system located in the nose, may also be equipped with a mast-mounted radar
Ka-52 'Hokum-B' Two-seat model equipped for command and control as well as combat reconnaissance
Ka-52 trainer Two-seat trainer model
Ka-52 EW Electronic warfare model equipped with jamming equipment


Chechnya (Russia, 2000)


Russia, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Russian Air Force)






  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 545, Kamov Ka-136 'Hokum'.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 2000, p. 219-220, Kamov Ka-50 'Hokum'.
  • Frase, Tuesday and Spohrer, Jennifer. Jane's Combat Simulations: Longbow Gold Users Manual. Austin: Origin Systems, 1997, p. 8.16-8.17.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 148, Kamov Ka-50 'Hokum'.
  • Gunston, Bill and Spick, Mike. Modern Fighting Helicopters. London: Salamander Books, 1998, p. 128-129, Kamov Ka-50 and Ka-52.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1995, p. 143-145, Ka-50.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 132-133.
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 454.
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 319-320, Kamov Ka-50 and Ka-52 Werewolf (NATO name Hokum).
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 315-317, Kamov Ka-50 and Ka-50N Black Shark (NATO name Hokum), Kamov Ka-52 Alligator (NATO name Hokum-B).

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