Russian Helicopters holding company has just announced that a modernized Ka-32A11M fire-fighting helicopter is going to be presented at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021. The scope of K-32 modernization includes a glass cockpit with upgraded avionics system, more powerful VK-2500PS-02 engines and a new fire extinguishing system.
´Ka-32 is recognized all over the world as one of the best fire-fighting helicopters. Nevertheless, even the best models need modernization just at the right moment. We have managed to preserve the outstanding flight performance of this rotorcraft, supplementing it with modern avionics and a new, more efficient and multifunctional fire extinguishing system. A prototype of Ka-32A11M will be present at the MAKS-2021 air show and we are planning to start supplying the aircraft as early as next year´, stressed Director General of Russian Helicopters Andrey Boginsky.
The technical solutions used in the new glass cockpit of Ka-32A11M have already been tested on Ansat and Mi-38 civil multipurpose helicopters. They include a set of additional navigation, optoelectronic and search equipment that can be installed on the aircraft. Moreover, pilots of the modernized Ka-32 will also be able to use night vision goggles.
With the new VK-2500PS-02 engines, the rotorcraft will perform significantly better in hot and mountainous environments. According to design calculations, its load capacity in such conditions will be increased by 1,600 kilograms.
The new SP-32 fire extinguishing system, developed by specialists from the National Helicopter Centre Мil & Kamov and KAPE, has received a number of significant advantages over foreign counterparts. The new tank holds 4 tons of water and is divided into four compartments. The patented digitally controlled discharge system allows the flaps to be opened in pairs or alternately, in addition offering an adjustment of opening angles, thereby increasing the water discharge time.
Automatized control system allows to accurately take in 4 tons of water in just 60 seconds, as well as add up to 400 litres of foam agent. It should be also noticed that Ka-32 was also been adapted to use a water cannon. In addition, all parts of the SP-32 system are electrically heated, therefore allowing to use it operationally in unprecedented winter conditions, including temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
´Coaxial-rotor design of Ka-32 has a number of serious advantages. Above all, it provides stable hover mode and excellent crosswind stability. Due to the absence of a tail rotor, the helicopter dimensions are reduced, which makes it more manoeuvrable´, said Responsible Engineer Kamov Project of HeliSwiss International AG Emil Hristov and added: ´In Switzerland, Ka-32 is used as an air crane in the mountain areas. Equipping the helicopter with new, more powerful engines creates a benefit of improving flight performance at altitudes above 2,000 meters of sea level.´
Serial production of Ka-32 rotorcraft is carried out by JSC Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise (KAPE). Until now, more than 240 rotorcraft of that type in all variants have been built and are being operated in more than 30 countries all over the world.
Photos courtesy of JSC “Russian Helicopters” / Rostec State Corporation. “Russian Helicopters” press materials were used.