Tag: Helicopter

Russian Helicopter Mistakenly Fires At Vehicles During War Games

Kamov Ka-52 Alligator Attack Helicopter

Despite the conjecture of recent days, Radio Free Europe has released footage that appears to confirm that one of a pair of Kamov Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters did fire rockets at onlookers at the 2017 Zapad wargames in Russia. A car was said to have been hit.

There are no reports of any fatalities. Russian news services claim that one of the Ka-52s suffered from a malfunction which resulted in an accidental firing whilst performing a display for spectators.




Second stage of Russian-Chinese naval exercise to involve 11 ships, 2 submarines

Chinese Navy (PLAN) Shijiazhuang destroyer

VLADIVOSTOK, September 17. /TASS/.

Russia and China will deploy 11 ships and two submarines to take part in the second stage of their joint naval exercise, Maritime Cooperation-2017, a Pacific Fleet spokesman said on Sunday.

The second stage of the exercise will begin on Monday in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

“The second stage of the international Russian-Chinese Maritime Cooperation-2017 exercise will involve 11 surface ships, two submarines, two deep-submergence rescue vehicles, four anti-suibmarine warfare aircraft and four shipborne helicopters,” spokesman Vladimir Matveyev said.

Russia will send the Admiral Tributs Udaloy-class destroyer, the Sovershenny corvette and the Igor Belousov rescue ship, carrying the AS-40 deep-submergence rescue vehicle and the R-11 missile corvette. In addition, the Pacific Fleet will also be represented by the Sovetskaya Gavan Grisha-class corvette, the Viktor Faleyev hydrographic survey vessel, the MB-93 sea tug and two diesel-electric submarines that were not named.

Russian Pacific Fleet sovershenny Corvette
The four-vessel Chinese task force will be led by the Shijiazhuang destroyer.

“In addition, the naval phase of the exercise will involve the training of ship-aircraft coordination. This element will involve two Il-38 planes, two Tu-142M3 planes, a Ka-27PS and a Ka-27 helicopters of the Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation. The aviation of the Chinese Navy will be represented by Z-9C and Z-9D shipborne helicopters,” Matveyev said.

Harbin Z-9EC ASW “Haitun”, Chinese: 海豚, Chinese Naval Air Arm

The second stage of the Russian-Chinese Maritime Cooperation-2017 exercise will take place between September 18 and 26 and will consist of the coastal and the naval phases. The coastal phase will be held in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on September 18-21. The naval part is scheduled for September 22-26 in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

The first stage of the Russian-Chinese naval exercises ‘Maritime Cooperation-2017’ was held from July 21 to July 28 in Baltiysk, the coastal city in Russia’s westernmost Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. Russia’s new generation Project 20380 corvettes – the Steregushchy and the Boiky – as well as a rescue tug, the Ka-27 multi-purpose shipborne helicopters, the Su-24 tactical bomber and the An-26 military transport aircraft took part in the drills.China sent the Hefei destroyer, the Yuncheng frigate and the Luoma Lake supply ship to the drills.




EU operation Atalanta welcomes Dutch amphibious ship HNLMS Rotterdam

HNLMS Rotterdam

Royal Dutch Navy’s landing platform dock HNLMS Rotterdam joined the EU-led counter piracy operation Atalanta off the coast of Somalia on September 13.

HNLMS Rotterdam set sail from her homeport Den Helder on August 27. In addition to the Dutch crew, a Swedish boarding team and two Swedish fast attack crafts (CB-90) are embarked on the ship.

During her transit to the area of operation, sailors and marines from the Netherlands and Sweden conducted a series of drills to ensure they are prepared to respond to acts of piracy and be ready for the upcoming missions.

It is not the first time that the Netherlands and Sweden are highlighting what can be achieved when EU Member States work together. In 2015, the Swedish Force Commander; Rear Admiral Jonas Haggren embarked his battle staff on board HNLMS Johan de Witt.

With the embarked fast assault craft (CB-90), its Cougar helicopter and its role 2 medical capabilities, HNLMS Rotterdam will provide great presence and support to the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, whose mission is to deter and disrupt pirate activities and to ensure that freedom of navigation is restored.

HNLMS Rotterdam (L800) with FRISC and Cougars.

Captain Harold Liebregs, commanding officer of HNLMS Rotterdam said of the upcoming mission: “We are ready for Atalanta and looking forward to cooperate with EU NAVFOR and other actors in the region to protect shipping near the Horn of Africa from piracy.”


Devon warship heading to hurricane hit Caribbean islands

HMS Ocean is heading to the Caribbean

Plymouth-based Royal Navy fleet flagship HMS Ocean has been re-tasked to provide humanitarian aid to the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma and in the path of Hurricane José.

The helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship will join Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay, providing logistical and medical support. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced the change of tasking following a COBRA meeting.

“With the danger posed by Hurricane Jose which will hit areas already affected by the storms, we are diverting a second ship to the Caribbean, our flagship HMS Ocean, to bring the help that will be needed in reconstruction after the hurricanes have passed,” he said.

A Chinook CH47 helicopter of 27 Squadron RAF operating from the flight deck onboard HMS Ocean

RFA Mounts Bay is already in the region and can provide a high level of capability and flexibility during disaster relief operations. She can provide emergency supplies of food, water and personnel – as well as medical support, temporary shelter and sanitation and the repair of infrastructure.

RFA Head of Service Commodore Duncan Lamb said: “My thoughts are with the people of Anguilla and neighbouring Caribbean islands affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.”

RFA Mounts Bay

HMS Ocean was due to take over as flagship for NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) deployment in theMediterranean but will instead head towards the Atlantic.

She has six helicopter operating spots on her flight deck with space in the hangar for many more. She currently has around 630 Royal Navy, Royal Marine and Army personnel embarked and can carry a significant amount of aid to the affected areas.
Hurricane Irma has pummelled the Turks and Caicos Islands after leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean, killing at least 14 people.

Howling winds and rough seas battered the British overseas territory, experiencing a top-rated category five hurricane for the first time.

There has been some damage and flooding in Haiti, which is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake. Some 500,000 people were told to leave south Florida with Irma due on Sunday.


New armament for the Polish Helicopter Fleet?

Polish Army Aviation Mi-24v Hind E, 56th Air Base (Land Forces), Inowrocław, Poland

The modernization of the Polish Armed Forces helicopter fleet has been one of the most hotly discussed topics of recent times. Regardless of the aircraft types that are selected (i.e. attack or multi-role platforms), defining the armament fit that would be used by the aircraft is critical. The Polish aviation industry, including the PGZ Group of companies, has real competency in the armaments supply domain, which may be further expanded through a relevant transfer of technology.

Light missiles carried in missile pods remain the primary ordnance for the attack and multi-role helicopter. The technological evolution has led to a situation in which such rockets may also feature a guidance system.

The Mesko company has concluded a cooperation agreement concerning this class of systems with Kongsberg, Raytheon and Thales. In the case of Thales, the proposal concerns the manufacturing of the latest guided and unguided 68 mm induction missiles.

When it comes to Raytheon and Kongsberg, collaboration on the production of the 70 mm laser guided rockets has been agreed. The rockets can be easily integrated across a variety of platforms. Their design is based on the NATO standard Hydra unguided 70 mm rockets (2.75 inch).

W-3PL Głuszec helicopter, armed with Spike-ER and Spike NLOS missiles that may be manufactured at the Mesko facility. Image Credit: J. Sabak

The 70 mm rockets manufactured by Mesko could also be based on the NLPR 70 mm projectiles which are already included in the company offer and are compliant with NATO standards. With a range of 2 kilometres the rockets may be used to attack targets, carrying a variety of 6 kg warheads. They constitute armament dedicated for a number of platforms, along with the WW-15 launcher manufactured by Mesko, holding 15 rockets, or the WW-4/N launcher developed by ZM Tarnów, holding 4 rockets. The whole system has been developed within the programme framework, the goal of which would be to tailor Polish armament to NATO standards, in order to replace the post-Soviet 57 and 80 mm rockets.

Both guided, as well as unguided rockets manufactured by Mesko, could become a part of the armament inventory for helicopters operated by Poland. This concerns both the armed CSAR multi-role helicopters, as well as the modern helicopters that are now in service. The same applies to the prospective rotary-wing aircraft that are to be procured via the Kruk attack helicopter tender. With the smaller launchers, this type of armament may be used onboard the Zefir- and Gryf-class UAV systems.

Polish rockets may be complemented with Grom/Piorun missiles in an air-to-air configuration. So far, such missiles have not been certified to be carried by the helicopters, however, trials are being conducted and it is hoped that the air-to-air option will be integrated shortly.

Gad-system has also been introduced to the Polish Army, utilizing the Striela-2M missiles. This solution has been operated by W-3 and Mi-2 helicopters and PZL-130 Orlik aircraft. A variant using the Grom and Piorun launchers may be a viable replacement. Attempts at adapting the Grom missiles for use on the W-3 Sokół/Głuszec helicopters were made as early as back in 2000, within the framework of the Gad-G programme.

Anti-Tank Missiles

At the moment the helicopters of the Polish Armed Forces have no ability to utilize ATGMs. That capability was lost once the operational lifetime of the Mi-24D/W helicopters ended. The abilities possessed by attack helicopters are a priority, as it is a requirement contained within the Strategic Defence Review. The emerging situation requires immediate steps to be taken to reverse it.

Polish Army Aviation Mi-24V Hind E

During the last year’s MSPO Defence Salon the W-3PL Głuszec helicopter was unveiled, carrying Spike-ER missiles with a range of 8 kilometers and Spike NLOS missiles that remain capable of striking targets beyond the line of sight, at distances of up to 25 kilometers. Black Hawk helicopters, for instance, also have the ability of using Spike missiles in a variety of engagements.

A few years ago Israel finalized tests of a modified “Battlehawk” helicopter, integrated with the Spike-ER ATGM system. On the other hand, the Columbian authorities have decided to arm their UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters with the Spike NLOS (25 km of range), Spike-ER and Spike-LR (range of up to 4 kilometers) missiles.

Spike-ER missile is also integrated with the Airbus Helicopters Tiger gunship, Israel has been working on integrating the weapon on the Apache helicopter.

Another variant of the Spike-LR missiles is being manufactured under license by the Mesko company. Representatives of the Rafael company have also declared their readiness to “polonize” other varieties of the Spike missile, should a decision be made to introduce the weapon into the inventory of the Polish Armed Forces.

At present, investigation into the procurement of a new type of ATGM for the Polish Army is being considered, with a prospect of that missile being used by the attack helicopter fleet. The process is in its infancy, hence a variety of proposals is being taken into consideration. When the proposals are assessed, potential chances of industrial collaboration shall also be taken into account. Regardless of the selected solution, it would be justified to start production domestically, as well as to establish potential for maintenance, operational support and prospective modernization.

Black Hawk helicopter carrying .308 and .50-cal machine guns manufactured by the ZM Tarnów facility. Image Credit: J. Sabak


Alongwith rocket armament, the PGZ Group may also offer a variety of types of gun for Polish attack, transport and utility helicopters. Polish Army Aviation will use .308 UKM-2000 machine guns, and .50-cal. WKM-B machine guns, with both weapons being manufactured by Tarnów in variants that may be carried by aircraft. This concerns both the electric-trigger unit variant, as well as versions that may be operated manually, by a gunner. Both weapons utilize NATO-standard ammunition and, for years, have been used by the Polish Armed Forces.

ZM Tarnów also offers LZS-12.7 gun pods in two variants, fitted with a WKM-Bm .50-cal. machine gun or multi-barrel WLKM-Bm .50-cal. machine gun. The gun-pod is slung under an external hardpoint, and is tailored to be used both with NATO as well as with Warsaw-Pact platforms. Alongside the gun, the pod also houses between 250 and 320 rounds of ammunition.

The multi-barrel WLKM 12.7x99mm machine gun is an original design developed by ZM Tarnów. The 50 kg six-barrel .50-cal. gun may be used to attack targets at the distance of up to 2000 meters, with theoretical rate of fire of 3600 rpm.

This type of weapon may be used at a gunner-station, as a gun pod, or as a remote-control turret. The ZSW-12.7 remote control turret manufactured by ZM Tarnów carries 320 .50-cal. rounds for the WKM-Bm gun. This variant is being used as an armament of the W-3PL Głuszec helicopter.

There is also an option of equipping helicopters with a six-barrel WLKM machine gun, of the same calibre. Once the ZSW-12.7 turret is integrated with the optronic sensor and weapons computer of the helicopter, the system may be installed and universally used by all varients of helicopters used by the Polish Armed Forces. It is also possible to integrate the weapon on the Black Hawk, H225M Caracal or CSAR AW101 rotary-wing aircraft.

ZSW-12.7 turret may be fitted with the WKM-Bm .50-cal machine gun and/or .50-cal WKML multi-barrel machine gun. J. Sabak

All of the options discussed are based upon the capability of the PGZ Group to integrate new armament solutions into a mixed NATO/Warsaw-pact based fleet. Introducing some of the armament into production, such as guided air-to-ground missiles, requires further investigation. The implementation of these systems, may only be driven by the decisions taken by the Polish Ministry of Defence, with a proper advance given to the industry, within the scope of requirements defined by Polish industry, as a part of the Technical Modernization Plan and other long-term action plans.

The armament for the new attack and close support helicopters, or even the UAVs, shall be unified to a large extent. Creating manufacturing capabilities domestically may become more beneficial, as the costs of operation may be reduced.

This could happen on condition that a decision on procurement of standardized armament is taken early enough, especially with regard to guided weapons. In this way, the integration weapons systems may be planned in advance with a reference to the given platform (helicopter, UAV). At the same time, domestic industrial potential may be created with regard to production, operational and maintenance support tailored to the given weapons system.

The requirement for a standardized NATO armament system for the Polish Armed Forces is immediate.  Not only should the decision precede the selection of the Kruk programme helicopter, and the multi-role helicopter tender, it should also be taken before the selection of the Zefir UAV is made which is expected to be capable of carrying guided munitions used by other air platforms operated by the Polish Armed Forces.

Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Forth starts first sea trials

HMS Forth launched – First Batch 2 River-class PSO (Offshore Patrol Ship) for UK Royal Navy

The lead ship of the Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessels, the HMS Forth, started sea trials on Wednesday sailing down River Clyde for the first time.

HMS Forth leads a class of five follow-on River-class vessels which will act as the RN’s eyes and ears around the UK, help to safeguard fishing stocks, reassure and protect Falkland Islanders and deploy to the Mediterranean and Caribbean if necessary.

Designed for a crew of just under 60 (but needing only 38 crew at any one time to go to sea), the ship departed Scotstoun – where she’s spent several months being fitted out – yesterday afternoon with a maximum number of 110 crew aboard. Every bunk aboard is filled.

Contractors from builders BAE, experts from the military’s support organisation DE&S, the RN’s equipment trials specialists MCTA and ship’s company will guide Forth through her ‘contractor sea trials’ to see how she handles and how the equipment on board performs.

Compared to their predecessors, the Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessels are four knots faster, carry a 30mm, not 20mm main gun, two Miniguns, four machine-guns and two Pacific 24 sea boats. Each ship is equipped with a flight deck (only Clyde of the first generation craft can host a helicopter) and there’s accommodation for up to 50 troops/Royal Marines to support operations ashore if needed.

Junior ratings share six-berth cabins – as on Type 45 destroyers; senior rates and officers will live in two-berth en suite cabins.

“Today marks a key moment in the generation of the ship and it is extremely exciting to be on board,” said Commander Bob Laverty, Forth’s first Commanding Officer. “Forth boasts state-of-the-art equipment, and my Ship’s Company are looking forward to developing their knowledge of the systems on board with their industry counterparts.”

The Batch 2s are from the same family as the Batch 1s “but are a completely new design,” Lt Tom Sleight, Forth’s Navigator, explained.

“The design provides a lot more operational flexibility with the large flight deck and space for the embarked force.”

“These ships will be able to conduct all of the fishery protection and domestic security duties currently undertaken by the squadron but will now also provide far more capable platform for deploying overseas such as when Mersey provided support to migrant operations in the Mediterranean or Severn and Mersey on Atlantic Patrol North.”

Ship No.2, HMS Medway, has taken Forth’s place at Scotstoun for fitting out having been floated down river from Govan in mid-August.


Modernized Ka-27M helicopters ready for serial delivery to Russian Navy

Photo: Russian Helicopters

After delivering the first modernized Ka-27M multirole helicopter to the Russian Navy in December 2016, Rostec subsidiary Russian Helicopters is ready for serial delivery of the Ka-27m aircraft to the Russian Navy.

After the first modernized unit passed all tests, the Russian defense ministry in late June approved the Ka-27M helicopter for serial production. The modernization of the helicopters will be held at the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise.

The helicopter is equipped with a new tactical command system that includes new acoustic and magnetometric systems, a radio reconnaissance system, an information computation system and an active phased array airborne radar station.

This provides the Ka-27M with all-around visibility and the ability to detect all types of ships and submarines; detection and destruction range has grown. Modern methods of transmitting information to land and ship command posts are installed on the helicopter; connection with other helicopters is modernized.

“The modernized Ka-27M will let the Russian Naval Aviation to complete combat missions in close-in maritime zone more efficiently. In 2016, we have shipped a preproduction batch to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The machines were highly assessed by the pilots based on the exploitation results. The modernized Ka-27M helicopters possess much greater combat potential that their predecessors and will be able to fulfil a wide range of tasks for the Navy,” states Vladislav Savelyev, Deputy CEO for sales of the “Russian Helicopters” holding.

Multirole Ka-27 type helicopters of various modifications are currently the basis of the helicopter units of the Russian Naval Aviation. They provide aerial reconnaissance at sea, anti-submarine protection of naval groups, detection, tracing and destruction of submarines and ships, perform search-and-rescue operations for crews of aerial vehicles and ships who are in distress; they also implement transport tasks for ensuring successful activity of naval groups.


Kongsberg gains Norwegian and Finnish contracts

Kongsberg gains Norwegian, South Korean contracts

Kongsberg Defense Systems will maintain gear boxes on Norway’s Sea King helicopters, under a deal with the Norwegian Defense Logistics organization.

The framework agreement, which could cost as much as $37.9 million, is in effect until 2020 and has a three-year option.

“This framework agreement secures a continued operation of the Norwegian Sea King helicopters until the new AW101 search-and-rescue helicopters are fully operative, and entail an important continuity for Kongsberg in a period where the organization is being built up to maintain gearboxes on the NH-90 and AW101 helicopters,” Kongsberg’s Executive Vice President Aerostructure Terje Bråthen said in a company news release Tuesday.

The Norway-based company also announced it will deliver its Integrated Combat Solution for Finland’s new K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled artillery.

The contract was signed with Hanwha Land Systems of South Korea, maker of the artillery.



Egypt to receive 15 Russian ‘Alligator’ helicopters in 2017

Kamov Ka-52 Alligator Attack Helicopter

Egypt will receive 15 Russian Ka-52 Alligator helicopters this year, head of the Russian Helicopters holding Andrey Boginsky said on the Russia 24 TV channel live.

“Three [helicopters] in the first batch for training, three in the second batch, 15 this year, and 46 in total,” he said, answering a question on the Ka-52 deliveries to Egypt.

A contract to supply 46 Ka-52 helicopters to Egypt was reported in 2016.

Last week, the Russian Helicopters press service said the company had completed training foreign engineering and technical staff under the first export contract for the helicopters.

There were also plans to discuss supplies of the shipborne version of the Ka-52 for Mistral-type helicopter carriers.





Second US Navy Expeditionary Sea Base Hershel “Woody” Williams Floats Out

Early evening view of USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams following the float-out. Photo: NASSCO

The US Navy’s second Expeditionary Sea Base USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams was floated out by shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO on August 19.

During the float out, NASSCO moved the ship from a graving dock to one of its piers for the next phase of construction.

As part of the process, seawater flows into the graving dock, gradually raising the ship until it floats on its own.

Named after retired U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, the 784-foot-long ship will serve as a flexible platform to support a variety of missions, including mine countermeasures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security and humanitarian missions.

The ship will provide for accommodations for up to 250 personnel, a 52,000-square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, and will also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters with an option to support MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft. The ship is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

General Dynamics NASSCO has delivered three ships in the class to the Navy: USNS Montford Point (ESD 1), USNS John Glenn (ESD 2) and USNS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). In addition to USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), a fifth ship as part of the program is under construction at NASSCO.

Hershel “Woody” Williams’s predecessor, the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), was recommissioned from a Military Sealift Command ship to a full-blown warship in Bahrain last week.

Turning the Puller into a commissioned warship will provide the navy with greater operational flexibility which it needs to respond to a security environment that has become “faster paced, more complex and increasingly competitive”, the US Navy said.


Ka-226 helicopter to be first equipped with new crash-resistant fuel system by 2019

Ka-226 helicopter. Marina Lystseva/TASS

The cutting-edge crash-resistant fuel system for helicopters will appear in Russia in 18-24 months and Ka-226 helicopter will be the first equipped with it, department director of Technodinamika Holding Egor Chetvertnykh said on Monday.

“This is one of system remaining in the priority list. Activities on this topic have been underway for several years. We identified the aircraft to be the first one fitted with this system – this is Ka-226 helicopter,” the expert said.

First specimens will be supplied to Russian Helicopters company in 18-24 months, he added.
Ka-226T is a lightweight multirole helicopter with the takeoff weight of 3.4 tonnes. It is intended to carry up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo or up to 7 passengers on board to a distance of 600 km.