First Appearance of KA-52 Helicopter with AESA Radar, Other Upgrades at Army 2023

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  • 10:50 AM, August 21, 2023
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First Appearance of KA-52 Helicopter with AESA Radar, Other Upgrades at Army 2023
Upgraded KA-52 chopper displayed at Army 2023 show near Moscow

Russia’s formidable Ka-52 helicopter now sporting an all-new Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar besides upgrades to its weapons and avionics was publicly shown for the first time at last week’s Army 2023 event near Moscow.

A spokesperson from Russian Helicopters confirmed to that the helicopter now housed an AESA radar in its nose. He did not specify the model designation of the radar but in all probability he was referring to the FH03 radar, under development since 2018.

According to available literature of radar manufacturer, Fazotron-NIIR,  the FH03  is the combination of an AESA for the X-frequency range and a slot antenna array (SLAR) for the L-frequency range.

The X-band radar is a forward looking AESA while the L-band SLAR radar consists of four independent slot antenna arrays, located on all sides of the fuselage, creating an all-round view of targets and threats.

The new radar has a detection range of 250 km besides a synthetic aperture mode for detailed imagery even through cloud cover, the spokesperson said

First Appearance of KA-52 Helicopter with AESA Radar, Other Upgrades at Army 2023
KA-52 with LMUR guided missile strapped to its wing

As to weapons, the most significant addition to the helicopter’s armament is the LMUR guided missile with a range of up to 14 km.

The cockpit display has undergone major upgrades compared to the previous iteration of the KA-52. The new cockpit display represents an uncluttered look with two large and three small displays facing the pilots and has controls on the roof of the helicopter.

During the current Ukraine war, KA-52s have been observed to operate with a full load of weapons and sensors which has necessitated strengthening the landing gear, the spokesperson said.

The upgraded KA-52 may already be in production. In July 2023, the Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu said that deliveries of the Ka-52 in 2023 “have doubled” compared to 2022 without specifying the number.

First Appearance of KA-52 Helicopter with AESA Radar, Other Upgrades at Army 2023
All new cockpit display of the upgraded KA-52

ts agility, compact size and attack/reconnaissance capability have made it the helicopter of choice in Ukraine. Despite taking several hits, the helicopter is said to have a higher survival rate compared to other war-birds. A case to point is of the KA-52 continuing to fly and land safely despite a part of its tail blown off during June this year.

Western media has been talking about the upgraded helicopter carrying the ‘M’ designation but the displayed helicopter had KA-52 painted on its sides. TASS reported in January this year that the first KA-52M helicopters had been handed over to Russian troops without specifying what the upgrades were.

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