Kamov Ka-50

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The Kamov Ka-50 "Black Shark" (Russian: Чёрная акула, NATO reporting name: Hokum A) is a single-seat Russian attack helicopter with the distinctive coaxial rotor system of the Kamov design bureau. It was designed in the 1980s and adopted for service in the Russian army in 1995. It is currently manufactured by the Progress company in Arsenyev.

During the late 1990s, Kamov and Israel Aerospace Industries developed a tandem-seat cockpit version, the Kamov Ka-50-2 "Erdogan", to compete in Turkey's attack helicopter competition. Kamov also designed another two-seat variant, the Kamov Ka-52 "Alligator" (Russian: Аллигатор, NATO reporting name: Hokum B).[4]

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Development

The Ka-50 is the production version of the V-80Sh-1 prototype. Production of the attack helicopter was ordered by the Soviet Council of Ministers on 14 December 1987.[5] Development of the helicopter was first reported in the West in 1984. The first photograph appeared in 1989.[6] Following initial flight testing and system tests the Council ordered the first batch of helicopters in 1990. The attack helicopter was first described publicly as the "Ka-50" in March 1992 at a symposium in the United Kingdom.[5]

The helicopter was publicly unveiled at the Mosaeroshow '92 at Zhukovskiy, in August 1992. The following month, the second production example made its foreign debut at the Farnborough Airshow, where it was displayed with an image of a werewolf on its rudder—gaining the popular nickname "Werewolf". However, it was the fifth prototype that gave the Ka-50 a particularly enduring designation. Painted black for its starring role in the movie Чёрная акула/Black Shark, the helicopter has been known by that nickname ever since. In November 1993, four production helicopters were flown to the Army Aviation Combat Training Centre at Torzhok to begin field trials. The president of the Russian Federation authorized the fielding of the Ka-50 with the Russian Army on August 28, 1995. However, the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union had led to a massive drop in defense procurement. This resulted in a mere dozen Ka-50s instead of the planned several hundred being delivered, meaning that there was still no proper replacement for the Mi-24.[7]

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