Turning heads at Le Bourget whenever it takes to the skies is Kamov’s Ka-52 helicopter. Its co-axial rotor blades and comprehensive weapons suite mark it out from the herd and, amazingly for a helicopter, it even has ejection seats. With the Ka-52 now in Russian army service and being touted for export, the design bureau is busy working on a maritime version for the Russian navy.
Kamov has championed the co-axial layout for many years, arguing that it increases agility and performance (particularly vertical climb) while making the helicopter safer by removing any torque problems and, as a consequence, any need for a tailrotor.
Today’s Ka-52 is the latest iteration of a line of Kamov combat helicopters that reaches back to the single-seat Ka-50 that made an appearance at the Paris Air Show in 1993.