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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Russia Produces First Ka-52 for Egypt

Russian Ka-52 helicopters. Source: Russian Helicopters

Russia has produced the first Ka-52 for Egypt, ahead of planned deliveries that will take place for the next few years.


In a statement released on January 31, 2017, Russian Helicopters announced its subsidiary Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company had completed the first Ka-52 'Alligator' reconnaissance and combat helicopter of the year. The Russian firm noted that several more Ka-52s are nearing completion and, in February, will be ready for delivery.

The statement additionally noted that Russian Helicopters has finished work on a Ka-52 for a foreign customer. The statement read, "The first experimental unit for a foreign customer has already been assembled and is successfully passing all tests as planned." Russian Helicopters plans to double production in 2017, "as some [Ka-52s] will be headed overseas."

Though Russian Helicopters did not identify the foreign customer, Egypt is the only country known to have finished an order for the helicopter. At the end of 2015, Russian Helicopters confirmed it would sell 46 Ka-52s to Egypt. It is unclear how much the contract will cost Egypt.

Egypt likely purchased the naval variant -- Ka-52K -- which will equip its new Mistral helicopter carriers, purchased from France. Those vessels, purchased in a $1 billion deal, arrived last year. In September 2016, Izvestia reported that Cairo reached an agreement with Moscow regarding the training of Egyptian pilots to operate Ka-52Ks.

The current schedule calls for Egypt to begin receiving its Ka-52s in 2017 and the contract may be fulfilled by 2019. Russian Helicopters noted that its subsidiary "took all necessary organizational and technological steps at Progress to expand production in view of the forthcoming volume increase," meaning the firm seems to be on track in meeting the contract with Egypt.

In addition to the Ka-52Ks, Egypt has seemingly ordered MiG-29 fighter jets (or possibly MiG-35s) and President-S countermeasures suites from Russia. At a recent ceremony in Russia showing off the latest MiG-35, an Egyptian delegation was spotted inspecting the new MiG-35 variant. Cairo has at times been named as a potential customer for the fighter jet.
Moscow has recently promoted the Ka-52, particularly alongside the helicopter's deployment to Syria. In April 2016, Russian media released the first ever footage of the helicopter in combat (see video below). The helicopters were filmed during combat operations against Daesh over al-Qaryatayn in Homs, Syria.

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