Kamov Ka-62 Makes Flying Debut at MAKS 2019

 - September 3, 2019, 5:31 AM
The Ka-62 makes its maiden flight at MAKS 2019. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

The Kamov Ka-62 made its flying debut at MAKS 2019, held from August 17 to September 1. The helicopter flew daily in a formation and performed a three-minute solo on two occasions during the show. According to the Russian Helicopters, its plant in Arseniev on the Pacific coast has so far completed three operable prototypes. “We expect to win type certification for the passenger version in 2020,” Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky told journalists at the show.

The type hovered for the first time in April 2016, and 13 months later performed first level flight lasting 15 minutes. Initial trials highlighted the need for a number of design changes. These included strengthening of the tail propeller and empennage and some alternations to transmission. Following implementation of these and other changes, the first operable prototype resumed flying in August 2018. It made a safe round trip to Vladivostok the next month.

The Ka-62 is a civilian version of the Ka-60 Kasatka multirole helicopter developed for the army aviation but rejected by the intended customer on the ground of costs. The respective industrial effort has had numerous “launches” and “relaunches.” In 2011, the Russian Helicopters merger accepted program leadership, and invited foreign companies to join in.

This call attracted Safran Helicopter Engines, which agreed to provide the turboshaft engines. The Ardiden 3G develops 1,780 shp at max continuous mode and up to 1,940 shp in emergency (for two and a half minutes) compared to 1,300 and 1,550 shp, respectively, for the indigenous RD-600V powering the Ka-60. Zoerkler of Austria promised a gearbox and transmission, while Aerazur Zodiac of France a crash-resistance fuel system.

In the wake of the Crimea annexation and Western sanctions that followed, the Kremlin demanded to reduce the foreign content on a number of ongoing aerospace programs. This caused additional delays to the Ka-62 program. As a part of the indigenization effort, the type received “a completely indigenous” avionics set from Transas Aviation, but recently the responsibility for it has been accepted by the Ramenskoye Instrument design bureau (RPKB).

In the current form, the Ka-62 with two crewmembers (one optionally) can transport 15 passengers 324 nm to 380 nm. In level flight, the 6.5-tonne (14,330-pound) helicopter can accelerate to 310 km/h (167 knots). The Ka-62 features a five-blade main rotor and a 12-blade “rotor in a ring located in vertical tail.”

Composite materials account for 60 percent of its structural weight. The manufacturer said the weight-saving measures were taken to increase speed, maneuverability, and payload, as well as to reduce fuel burn.

The Ka-62 is promoted as a multirole helicopter for transportation of passengers and cargo, as well as surveillance, search-and-rescue, and medical services. Russian Helicopters has big hopes for sales of a VIP variant to big corporations and a version for offshore operations to fossil fuel giants. Special attention is paid to operations in extreme climate conditions, like those observed in Arctic and Africa.

Although sales campaign was launched in 2011, the manufacturers have so far named only two foreign customers. Atlas Táxi Aéreo of Brazil signed a contract for seven along with seven options in 2012, and Ecopetrol for five in 2016.