Kamov’s Ka-65 Minoga Breaks Cover

 - June 10, 2019, 6:50 AM

A photo of either a full-scale mockup or the first prototype of the Ka-65 Minoga next-generation deck helicopter being assembled at the Kamov design bureau’s workshop surfaced on Russian internet military forums earlier in June. The Minoga appears to be similar in size to the Mil Mi-38, with the biggest difference being Kamov’s characteristic coaxial rotor layout with the possible addition of a pusher propeller at the tail.

The semi-assembled fuselage appears with Russian naval aviation titling and a naval flag. The presence of Ka-52 and Ka-226 helicopters helps provide an assessment of its dimensions. The Minoga will have the same powerplant as the Mi-38, comprising two Klimov TV7-117 turboshafts that each develop 3,000 shp at takeoff and 3,750 shp at emergency power.

The Minoga is being developed under the Russian defense contract awarded on November 28, 2014, according to which the new rotorcraft is intended for operations from the decks of warships. It uses composite materials for weight saving, and its rotor blades will be made of composites and be shaped for high speeds. Reportedly, the specification calls for a cruise speed of up to 173 knots. The Minoga is intended to replace the Ka-27, which was introduced in 1981.

Russian Helicopters
A chart showing current and future Russian Helicopters defense projects includes the Ka-65. (Image: Russian Helicopters)

According to recent presentations by the Russian Helicopters holding company that controls the national rotorcraft industry, including the Mil and Kamov design bureaus, the Ka-65 Minoga is “a multipurpose deck helicopter.” The type is on the list of the manufacturer’s future product range that also includes “the Ka-60 multipurpose helicopter,” a “rotorcraft strike complex,” and an unmanned combat air vehicle. According to these presentations, the Ka-65 will be notably larger than the Ka-60 Kasatka. This is contrary to earlier suggestions—including those from the design bureau itself—that it had initially been schemed as a navalized Kasatka.

Earlier this century Kamov general designer Sergei Mikheyev told reporters that “the tremendous progress” with minimization of mission equipment size and weight permits the creation of a next-generation deck helicopter that would have the same or wider functionality than the Russian navy’s standard Ka-27, while being in the 5-tonne mtow class compared to 12 tonnes for the previous design. As it appears today, the navy decided against such an idea, opting instead for the Minoga to be the same or even larger than the Ka-27. This determined the choice of the powerplant: the TV7-117 in place of the Ka-60’s Rybinsk RD-600V with half the power.

In turn, the recent reappearance of the Ka-60 in Russian Helicopters' future product range—after the project was once rejected by the defense ministry on the cost grounds—will likely entail the start of series production of the 1,550-shp RD-600V. This engine, conceived as a Russian equivalent to the General Electric CT7/T700 series back in Soviet times, attained type certification earlier this century but did not enter production.

The Ka-62 civilian version of the Ka-60 features numerous design alternations, including Safran Ardiden 3G turboshafts. Certified a year ago, these engines appear more technologically advanced, yet are unlikely to be available for the Russian defense ministry due to the tightening of Western sanctions on Moscow.