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KA-50 is it really any good?


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Having had the sim a month or so and slowly geting to grips with it, I am interested in the simmer communities assesment of the KA50. Assuming ED have done a good job in modelling the ka50 and given the detail no reason to doubt the accuracy, what do you think of it as a combat machine?

 

As an interested simmer/ layman, I actually don't rate the ka50 very highly for the following reasons.

 

1. It is single seat giving a high pilot workload when flying/fighting

2. Limitations in its performance and handling ie relatively low Vne speed

for modern heli and rotor clipping etc.

3. Low tech sensors and radars

4. svkal operation and performance.

 

This is not a question about the quality of the sim but the KA50.

 

Feel free to agree/disagree or add your own assesment of the capabilities/weaknesses of the machine

 

drummer :thumbup:

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In my opinion, for present times Ka-50 is old and not ekhm well :). But in times when it was designed and for task which was prepared it would be really good. In conflict between West and East in Europe, where is flat terrain, the Shkval is good. Also it was designed as far I know to cooperate with other choppers which would show targets and Ka-50 only shows up to destroy it. After came Wind of Changes, and situation changed...

 

Big limitation is not fire&forget missile system, Vikhrs maybe look cool but aren't well for present fight areas, when you fire, hide, and again same.

 

Also one pilot must fight against enemies and fight to have stable chopper. For now two folks seems better solution, always for ground task better four eyes than one. Maybe with ultra uber high end avionics and solutions one seat helicopter would be almost same as double seat in mental comfort and effectivity.

 

Good solution for morale it is catapult seat. Not every time pilot can use it (example high damaged and is falling down from 50-100 meters, it is only few seconds so sometimes it would be too short time to engage catapult...) but mind we have escape possibility gives safety feelings.

 

Kamov's coaxial rotor seems also good, we don't need caudal rotor.

 

Summing up I think for present battle fields it is not well chopper, leak of good weapons is IMO main problem. Seems Russian also understood this and this is why Ka-50 is for "special tasks" only and decided to stop Vikhr production anymore. Remember this chopper would be earlier (and in earlier times it would be good) in air but due of financial lacks we have what we have...

 

Now it is time for Ka-52 and Mi-28.

Reminder: Fighter pilots make movies. Bomber pilots make... HISTORY! :D | Also to be remembered: FRENCH TANKS HAVE ONE GEAR FORWARD AND FIVE BACKWARD :D

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1. i think that they have developed well the single seat capability with introducing the autopilots and the "auto turn on target" mode which really! helps out a ton! being able to automate the flares, auto hover, using the HMS to slew the shval around! i think the work load may be higher but they have really developed for it to help the pilot out as much as possible.

 

2. very much disagree :P i think you just need practice if you think it has handling limitations. wow is this thing nimble! the key is when you want to jerk the cyclic about, to drop the collective to reduce risk of slapping rotors! i can do loops and rolls! :D i can go 250 kmph and kick the rudder to the left drop collective and mash the cyclic around to turn around extremely fast.

 

3. the LWS is nice, something different than a RWR but with the LWS we can now detect tanks and other vehicles that are targeting us and take action.... but it would be nice to also have an RWR but you got to think would it even need one? Flares on both sides is great as well.

 

4. WHAT? have you tried using the HMS? ;) wow just look at something and hit the uncage button and watch the shval slew right to it! or get a load of this........ Hold down the uncage button and see what happens O.o !!! it can track moving targets, scan on its own, it integrates itself with the ABRIS to tell exactly what your looking at! you can use the ABRIS to move the shval to a specific target.....if you have an assigned target you can key it up on the abris and hit uncage and the shval will go right to it! the Shval is amazing

 

overal a good disscussion :D

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Thanks for your inputs so far. Of course I forgot to add that my opinion is based on my own limited flying capabilities, so those limitations have to be factored in and yes, I have to admit i am very much still learning to flight /fly the machine.

 

I take your points on the age of when the system was designed and also the auto pilot functions that make the pilot life easier but still not as easy as some of the double crewed helis out there.

 

any other opinions to throw into the discusion?

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Big limitation is not fire&forget missile system, Vikhrs maybe look cool but aren't well for present fight areas, when you fire, hide, and again same.

 

Nowadays they're pretty much changing the combat style to hit & run instead of hiding behind cover to pop up & fire. This is where fire and forget missile comes very useful along with a separate gunner who has the time to fix on target quickly before hightailing away from the area. Sitting target is always a sitting target and vulnerable to even smallarms.

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Ka-50 is better than Mi-28. Russian tests of both machines certified it. Although Mi-28 has more roles; it can carry or rescue limited number of soldiers, it has further range and it is "more" multirole. Ka-50 is an elite anti tank/vehicle destroyer and the better punch for special operations. The main problem with Ka-50 is its high monetary value and the need of elite pilots to manage it. That is the main reason Ka-50 is used for special operations while Mi-28 is the main attack helicopter.

Small, fast, and agile, high survivality helicopter, the better choice for fast hit and run attacks in the face of the enemy.

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I agree biggest drawbacks are single seat and lack of fire and forget missiles.

[but on the second item, I would say rockets are also fire and forget, and even rediscovered by Nato as very usefull at the moment.]

 

I would say the gun is a big plus.

 

I must confess I am surprised how outdated the avionics are. ABRIS is really cool, but all those switches scattered around the cockpit are totally NOT the way to go.

 

Not only this consumes hours and hours of totally pointless pilot training, it is also a recipe for maintenance headaches and problems. They really should get rid of alll those mechanical switches and convert to true digital avionics with a strong main computer system.

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Now take a look at the F-16! It's a 70s design alright but...

 

Just like TFlash mentioned before me, scattered switches all around the cockpit is a bad way to go. It's like pimping your car with all the gadgets you can think of but in such manner they end up all over the place like you had a tsunami few moments ago!

 

Now why I said F-16, if you take a look at a startup procedure of a F-16 you'll notice it's pretty simple and logical. You start from your left panel (near your left elbow) and rotate slowly clockwise across the pit to end up on the right hand panel hitting final switches to power up HUD, UFC and DL. It's pretty easy to remember and to become a second nature, isn't it?! Wiring diagram is a b***h but you as an end user feel pretty confortable! No need to look around to much, waving hands frantically!

 

The other hand is poor or no HOTAS implementation, I mean it's a single seater so instead of hovering 4 miles away from that Osa hiding in the treelines while planning your attack and powering your systems (flippin' switches) HOTAS with most important attack commands would be a better solution!

 

I just can't imagine it took Kamov 25 years to develop the 50 and end up having product that's looking for immidiate patch!


Edited by Vekkinho
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I think, like many of you, the cockpit layout is a big draw back. Engine switches are not group, nether are weapons system switches, etc. Is hard to single handily operate an helicopter and fight, but it is just a bit harder looking for switches all over the cockpit. Visibility is another factor, how many of you have lost a target or anything you are trying to track, specially on the right side.

 

On a good note, I do believe the helicopter to be extremely agile (at low weight of course) and can carry a very good load out. I believe it is very fast, with a good climb rate. I think the biggest limitations in terms of agility is my inability to fly it properly and my lack of experience to be able to fly it to its limits and stay there without loosing control. I also believe this thing can take a lot of damage, if the real one is anything like DCS Black Shark, wow. I was flying earlier today with a hole in one engine, when I say a hole I mean it, 3/4 of the engine compartment where gone, I know it is not real but, Wow, if it can take that kind of damage and bring the pilot home like I was able to.

All in all it is very good and entertaining simm, can't wait for the next one.

To whom it may concern,

I am an idiot, unfortunately for the world, I have a internet connection and a fondness for beer....apologies for that.

Thank you for you patience.

 

 

Many people don't want the truth, they want constant reassurance that whatever misconception/fallacies they believe in are true..

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After the trials against the Mi-28A conducted by the Soviet military in the late 1980s, it was decided the Ka-50 was the better helicopter, not only in terms of specific capabilities, but also as a general platform for developing future combat helicopter operations. Relative to the time and other hardware in service, the Ka-50 was pushing the envelope in many ways. The Soviet military chose the Ka-50 for service, but instructed Kamov to address a number of shortcomings of the test prototypes. These included enhanced night combat capability, defense systems capability, interoperability with ground forces and reduced pilot workload.

 

Presumably, at least some of these improvements would be forthcoming as Kamov continued to develop the aircraft. As it was however, the USSR fell and the initial production batch became the only and final production batch, more or less in the form presented in DCS: Black Shark. It's also the form in which the Ka-50 took part in actual combat operations over Chechnya.

 

It's known that Kamov continued to experiment with various IIR systems and, more recently, with missile warning and jamming systems. As far as I know, no RWR was ever tested on the aircraft. But then again, RWR don't appear to be standard on any Russian combat helicopter. Some, only some Mi-24s were equipped with them.

 

Today, Russia appears to be decided to keep in service the few Ka-50s built in the original production batch and adopt the few that were not completed. It's possible some avionics retrofit will be conducted on these, most likely to include the missile warning systems and possibly jamming systems. I would be surprised if there was any retrofit of the attack systems.

 

The Ka-50 "legacy" can only continue with the Ka-52, a helicopter much more fit to todya's standards, with IIR sensor(s), glass cockpit design, possibly a multimode radar. However, the Ka-52 is still raw, despite being officially adopted into Russian military service. In today's Russia, being in "mass production" usually refers to equipping 2-4 squadrons. At least, this is the case with the Su-27SM and the "mass production" Mi-28N.

 

As I've said many times on this forum, the Ka-50 can only be understood in relation to the overall economic and political collapse of a nation. It, like most other Russian military hardware, was and for the most part still is in freeze-form for almost 20 years.

 

Sorry for the rant.


Edited by EvilBivol-1
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- EB

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I agree, and disagree, with all of you to some extent. A couple points need to be noted. Probobly most important is the state of Russia's military funding. In the 80's most of the Ka-50's systems were state of the art. Apache didnt have millimeter wave radar or fire-and-forget hellfires. (ohh and by the way the Cobra just switched to hellfires from the venerable TOW). The F-16 series was basic compared to today. Most likely the lack of standard upgrades to the Ka-50 was/is due to the major cuts in Russian military spending, which from what I can tell is very minimal. I dont think it was intentional but I think the Ka-50 is better suited to todays threat than the major European ground battle. Ka-50 mission description is stated as Close Support. This compared to the Mi-28s mission of Attack/Close Support. I think there is a similarity to the Apache (Attack), and Cobra (Close Support). Difference in mentality and tactics if it isnt just academic. End state... the threats of the world today faced by both Russia and the US are not massive Armor engagements. Carrying 16 fire-and-forget hellfires capable of simultaniously attacking 16 tanks at once does little to help us today. From what I can tell, both the Ka-50 and Ah-1W/Z are well suited to get in close and mix it up. More of a knife fighter. The brilliance and simplicity of a design are just as important as technology and performance. Just my opinion.

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Sorry for the rant.

 

Oh I don't know - I thought it was rather nice. :)

 

Spartan1-1:

I don't think any amount of funding would have convinced Kamov to retain a second crewmember. The Ka-50 was clearly designed for maximum thrust-to-weight at all costs. Why this particular metric was considered more important than pilot's eyes, sensors and UI has probably less to do with money and more with hubris, because the Ka-52 addressing these shortcomings was born of even poorer funding. At what point can we call a design flaw a design flaw?

 

Love the avatar.

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So you definitely would not want to be this guy, flying combat operations over Georgia:

http://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=537276&postcount=3

;)

 

Without RWR?. No thanks. Certainly not against another country with more modern air defence assets. The thought that I could be locked up and fired upon by AAA with radar guidance without even knowing it would scare the crap out of me.

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Do you have any practical idea of the reliability of any RWR down in the weeds? Let alone an old, Soviet RWR? :)

Personally, I don't know and would be interested to find out, but my guess would be that it's largely useless in an environment where radar energy is bouncing all around you.


Edited by EvilBivol-1

- EB

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Nothing is easy. Everything takes much longer.

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Do you have any practical idea of the reliability of any RWR down in the weeds? Let alone an old, Soviet RWR? :)

Personally, I don't know and would be interested to find out, but my guess would be that it's largely useless in an environment where radar energy is bouncing all around you.

 

I'm not sure how reliable Soviet era RWR's are infact I'm not sure how reliable western RWR's are either because I've never used one. I'm sure most RWR's would alert the pilot to most types RF energy locking and tracking them which is very helpful against AAA and any other air defence asset that uses RF energy for weapons guidance.

 

IMO what is really unreliable and impractical is flying blindly and ignorantly into an unseen AAA's WEZ.


Edited by Vault

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Well, who said anything about flying blindly and ignorantly? Any combat mission includes a carefully prepared study of the battle space, including known and suspected enemy threats. This is also an area I believe we as flight simmers tend to "undersimulate" in our mission plans.

I'm sure most RWR's would alert the pilot to most types RF energy locking and tracking them which is very helpful against AAA and any other air defence asset that use's RF energy for weapons guidance.
And I'm not so sure... :) Rather, if they do, then I would imagine they would also be tripped by the bouncing energy and alert the pilot to false positives all around him. Alternatively, if the system is tuned to filter those out, it would only provide limited SA, perhaps alerting the pilot to continuous illumination only. Either way, the practical reliability drops significantly, perhaps even reducing the overall SA.

 

To me, an analogous question is, why don't more helicopter utilize ejection seats? Even if they wouldn't save most or even many pilots in fatal crashes, they would certainly save some. So why not? I think the answer is the same - not enough practical value to justify the costs (not only financial, but general).

 

Again, I could be wrong and am completely open to being corrected, but I think we may be making a kind of flight simmer's fallacy, being used to perfectly working avionics and the simplicity of game code. In reality, I would assume there is a reason why the Soviet and now the Russian military did not equip their helicopters with RWRs (for the most part). This may of course change with later and more advanced defensive systems.


Edited by EvilBivol-1

- EB

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Nothing is easy. Everything takes much longer.

The Parable of Jane's A-10

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To me, an analogous question is, why don't more helicopter utilize ejection seats? Even if they wouldn't save most or even many pilots in fatal crashes, they would certainly save some. So why not? I think the answer is the same - not enough practical value to justify the costs (not only financial, but general).

 

Probably because most think RWR is more helpful than an ejection seat. Prevention is better than cure my freind. I'm sure RWR's are very sensitive to false spikes and are normally absorbed and proccessed correctly by software. Continous RF illumination will definitely alert a pilot.

 

Again, I could be wrong and am completely open to being corrected, but I think we may be making a kind of flight simmer's fallacy, being used to perfectly working avionics and the simplicity of game code. In reality, I would assume there is a reason why the Soviet and now the Russian military did not equip their helicopters with RWRs (for the most part). This may of course change with later and more advanced defensive systems.

 

I also could be wrong but I think it was a funding issue, either way if I was a pilot I still wouldn't fly anything without an RWR in todays warzones.

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Right, because the RWR's and all those other high-tech doodads totally prevented those 40-odd Apaches from being totally bush-whacked by a load of point-and-shoot AAA ... at night :)

 

I think you're severely misunderstanding the primary threat these helicopters fight.

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