The Russian Navy is modernizing its fleet of Kamov Ka-27PL and Ka-27PS helicopters, Russian State subsidiary Russian Helicopters announced on 2 April 2015.
The first batch of overhauled and upgraded maritime helicopters (NATO reporting name Helix) is planned to rotate back into the fleet before the end of 2015, with work being done at the Kumertauskom Aviation Plan (KumAPP). The number of aircraft involved has not been disclosed.
The Ka-27PL is used for anti-submarine warfare, while the Ka-27PS is a search-and-rescue chopper. The PL is designed to detect, track and engage underwater and surface targets with its own sensors and weapons, or could relay the intel to Russian Navy vessels nearby.
Russian Helicopters hopes to attract foreign interest in the Ka-27 modernization program, with several other countries operating the export version Ka-28 of the Helix. The Russian Navy is expected to sent more helicopters to KumAPP for overhaul and upgrading for many years to come.
For the first time in 25 years the Russian Air Force held a large-scale joint exercise in the beginning of July between the Russian Air Defence Forces and the combat aircraft of the Western Military District in the skies of and near St. Petersburg, relatively close to borders with Finland and the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
About two dozen Sukhoi Su-34s and Su-27s plus Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 SMTs and MiG-31s took up a simulated air war against Russia’s own radar systems, self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery and S-300 surface-to-air missile units. The exercise included surprise bombing attacks from three directions on strategic targets in the St. Petersburg area. Purpose of the “city bombing” training was to help train aircrews to penetrate heavily defended areas to hit vital enemy locations on the ground.
Of course, no real bombs were dropped. All “hits” were recorded electronically to measure the success of the bombing crews and the air defence opposing them.
Parallel to exercise in the St. Petersburg area, the Russian Northern fleet put up air-to-surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises. Tupolev Tu-142 bombers and Ilyushin IL-38 patrol aircraft worked out bombing procedures, while Kamov Ka-27 helicopters dropped torpedoes. The main mission was to train the flight crews in the search and identification of enemy submarines.
Secondary air ice reconnaissance missions were flown over the Arctic Sea – especially the so-called Northern Sea Route which is a shipping short-cut from Western Europe to Asia when ice conditions allow it.
LATEST UPDATE 15 APRIL 2014 | Russia has released one Ukrainian Navy Be-12 amphibious aircraft and two Ka-27 maritime helicopters from Saky Naval Air Station on the Crimea on 14 April 2014. Saky was seized by Russian forces in March 2014 when they took over the whole of the peninsula by force, however with almost no bloodshed.
The Beriev Be-12 arrived by air from Saky and landed on the Ukrainian Air Base at Nikolaev (Mikolaev), where Ukrainian Su-25s are based. Despite the not superb state the crew deemed the condition of the aircraft good enough for flight.
Moreover two Kamov Ka-27 maritime helicopters arrived in Nikolaev by rail from Saky, with a third expected soon. Beside the air assets Ukrainian Navy tanker vessel Fastiv and missile corvette Pryluky were also given back to Ukraine by Russia. Unable to make it on their own, they were tugged from Sevastopol at the Crimea to Odesa Naval Base. The working vessel Balta arrived in Odesa on 15 April 2014. None of these returned ships have air assets.
Russia’s sole fully capable aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is moving again as of 28 March 2014. The Northern Fleet flagship has spent the past months on a long journey from its home in Murmansk.
The Kuznetsov, officially designated heavy aircraft carrying missile cruiser (tyazholyy avianesushchiy raketnyy kreyser or TAVKR), has been restocked by the tanker Sergey Osipov in the eastern Mediterranean and is now moving to an operations area south-west of the island of Cyprus, the Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed. Over the next few days naval aviators from the Northern Fleet Air Wing will practice carrier qualification and operation flights with their Sukhoi Su-33s fighter jets and Kamov Ka-27 maritime helicopters.
During the long voyage of the flagship of the Russian navy, which began on 17 December 2013, the Northern Fleet Air Wing pilots have made 300 sorties accumulating 260 hours of flight. Although new MiG-29K Fulcrums are coming into service to enlarge the combat capabilities of the Russian Navy Aviation, they were not mentioned in Moscow’s press release.
The Vietnam Coast Guard is about to buy a new shipborne maritime helicopter, and everything points in favour of the Kamov Ka-27 which is internationally marketed by Russian state-owned company Russian Helicopters.
The Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam (Vietnam Coast Guard) wants to enlarge the working radius of its four DN 2000-class patrol ships, a 2,500 ton and 90 metres (297 feet) long vessel with aft helideck. The class is based on a design owned by Dutch Damen Shipyards, but the ships are being build in Hai Phong, Vietnam. The first ship of the class, CBS-8001, is already operational.
To make its range of 5,000 nautical miles and its speed of 21 knots more efficient, the Ministry of Defence wants to add a rotary wing element to the patrol ship. Ha Noi admitted recently to have shortlisted the helicopter wish list to the Kamov Ka-27 and the Airbus Helicopters AS 565 Panther, but experts close to the process think the Russian chopper will go through based on purchase and operating costs.
A change could be reached if the Airbus Helicopters teams up with its sister fixed-wing production company for a stronger financial deal, since the Vietnam Coast Guard might wish for more C.212-400s maritime patrol aircraft. Those are built by the former CASA factory in Spain, currently part of Airbus. The Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam already operates three of these C.212s equipped with a Swedish mission suite.