The Russian Helicopters holding company of the Rostec state corporation announced the start of the next stage of testing the modernized Ka-32A11BC helicopter, capable of extinguishing fires at low temperatures. The rotorcraft performed its first flight with VK-2500PS-02 engines, its duration was 37 minutes.
The VK-2500PS-02 engines were designed and manufactured by ODK-Klimov, which is part of the Rostec United Engine Corporation. The use of new power plants made it possible to improve the flight performance of the helicopter, expanded the possibilities for operating the helicopter, including when working with an external sling.
“The first successful flight of the Ka-32A11BC with turboshaft engines is a milestone event. Over the years of operation, the helicopter has established itself as an efficient and reliable machine. The VK-2500PS-02 engines increase the stability and safety of helicopter control in strong crosswinds, including in high altitude conditions. This will expand the geography of the use of the machine in extinguishing forest fires and conducting emergency rescue operations. We plan to complete all certification tests in the third quarter of 2023”, – said Anatoly Serdyukov, industrial director of the aviation cluster of Rostec.
The upgraded Ka-32A11BC is the world’s first helicopter capable of extinguishing fires at sub-zero temperatures. This opportunity was provided by a unique domestic suspended fire extinguishing system SP-32 with a water heating function. Its capacity is up to 4000 liters with the possibility of using 400 liters of foam agent. Thanks to a more powerful water intake system, the tank is automatically filled in just 60 seconds – 25% faster than in the previous version of the helicopter.
In addition, the helicopter is equipped with modern emergency equipment, as well as a “glass cockpit” – a digital flight and navigation system with display indication. The Ka-32A11BC is capable of extinguishing fires in conditions of heavy smoke, on the last floors of high-rise buildings and oil and gas industry facilities.
“The modernization program provides for the revision of previously released helicopters of the Ka-32 family. In total, more than 260 Ka-32 helicopters in various modifications were produced at the Kumertau enterprise of the holding. At the same time, the Ka-32A11BC is recognized as one of the most effective firefighting helicopters in the world. The twin-rotor design of this line of rotorcraft provides their unique maneuverability in vertical and horizontal planes, increases stability, as well as piloting comfort. This is especially important when performing emergency rescue operations and extinguishing fires in difficult ground conditions or in dense urban areas, including near high-rise buildings, when the flight and stable hovering of the helicopter are hampered by wind vortex flows.”, – said Oleg Gulyaev, First Deputy General Director of the Russian Helicopters holding.
The updated Ka-32A11BC is adapted for the use of night vision goggles. The capabilities of the helicopter can be expanded by installing additional surveillance, navigation and other target equipment integrated into the airborne flight and navigation system.