Russia to train Egyptian Ka-52K pilots


Russia has agreed to train Egyptian pilots on the Kamov Ka-52K naval helicopters that will fly off its new Mistral class landing helicopter dock vessels.

Russian daily newspaper Izvestia reported on 6 September that the agreement was concluded during a meeting in Moscow between Egyptian defence minister Sedki Sobhi and Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

Citing a military and diplomatic source, Izvestia reported that Egypt has until the end of the year to finalise the agreement before Russia starts training. Russian Helicopters and the Russian navy will be involved in the training.

The first of two Mistrals was handed over to Egypt on 2 June this year and named Gamal Abdel Nasser, while the second is due to be delivered this month. It will be named Anwar Sadat. As they were originally destined for Russia, they were designed to accommodate the Ka-52K helicopter. Each vessel can operate 16 helicopters.

Russia is looking to supply additional equipment for the Mistral vessels, with Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin saying on 6 September that negotiations are ongoing to supply Egypt with communications and control equipment for its Mistrals.

Russia confirmed the sale of 46 Ka-52Ks to Egypt in December last year. Russian Helicopters Director-General Alexander Mikheyev said deliveries to Egypt are expected to conclude by 2017.

The Ka-52 Alligator is a development of the Ka-50 Black Shark, featuring two crew side-by-side in a new nose housing additional avionics. The Ka-52 is in service with the Russian Air Force, which has ordered 146 Ka-52s while Russian naval aviation will receive 32 navalised Ka-52Ks. Production began in 2008.

The helicopter is fitted with four underwing hardpoints capable of carrying 80/120 mm air-to-surface rockets, 9A4172 Vikhr-M (AT-12) laser-guided air-to-surface missiles, Igla or R-73 (AA-11 ‘Archer’) air-to-air missiles, Kh-25MP (AS-12 ‘Kegler’) anti-radiation missiles and FAB-500 bombs. Fixed armament comprises a 30 mm 2A42 gun with up to 240 rounds of ammunition.