The Ka-226 (nicknamed “Sergei”) is a Russian light military utility helicopter manufactured by Kamov. It’s also known by its NATO reporting name “Hoodlum”.
The Ka-226 is a twin-turbine variant of the Ka-26, which is piston-powered. Development of the Ka-226 began in response to requirements of the Russian disaster relief ministry, as no current helicopters met them. Specifically, these requirements were outlined by the TSENTROSPAS Russian Emergency Ministry, the Moscow City Government and Gazpromavia Airlines.
The first flight of the Ka-226 took place in 1997, seven years after its announcement in 1990. It entered service in 2002.
As is Kamov’s trademark, the Ka-226 uses a contra-rotating coaxial design for its main rotors. As such it has no tail rotor and benefits from increased lifting power, safer operation in areas where a tail rotor could be fouled and stable, precise hovering.
The Ka-226 is equipped with two Rolls-Royce Allison 250-C20R/2 turboshaft engines and it is capable of flight using only one engine. Other engine options are available however, including the Progress ZMKB AI-450, Turbomeca Arrius 2G and the Klimov VKK-800.
The Ka-226 is notable for its endurance of 4.24 hours, which can be extended to 6.45 hours using an extended fuel tank. It’s also designed to be hardy, with an 18 000 hour lifespan and a scheduled service lifespan of 25 years.
The most striking feature of the Ka-226 is surely its swappable mission pod. Instead of a cabin these pre-equipped pods can be quickly changed out for use in different mission types.
With the mission pod removed the Ka-226 can also be equipped with various systems, such as surveillance equipment or agricultural spraying equipment.
Several orders for the Ka-226 have been delivered. The Moscow City Government awarded a $1.5m contract to Kamov in December 2001 to supply ten Ka-226 helicopters. Which works out to about 150 000 USD per unit. The Royal Jordan Airforce ordered six units in 2007 at a cost of 25m USD.