The Kamov Ka-27 is a Soviet helicopter also known by the NATO designation “Helix”. Its primary role is as an anti-submarine helicopter.
The Ka-27 was conceived explicitly as a replacement for the Ka-25, which was a decade old at the time development on the Ka-27 began. The Ka-27 uses a coaxial rotor design, a hallmark of Kamov helicopters, allowing for increased lifting power and better hovering stability.
The Ka-27 made its first flight in 1973, but only entered service in 1982 after starting production in the previous year.
Apart from its primary role ferrying anti-submarine munitions, variants of the Ka-27 have been adapted for firefighting roles, flying crane missions and airborne police operations.
Several variants exist, notably the Ka-29 assault transport, the Ka-28 export version and the Ka-32 civilian variant.
Two Klimov TV3-11MA turboshaft engines provide power to the two main rotors and are rated at 1,633 KW each.
As the Ka-32, the Kamov can carry 5000 liters of water slung under the airframe. It can also lift 5 tons of underslung weight, which serves it well as a flying construction crane, along with the precision hovering that its coaxial rotor design allows.
The three-bladed coaxial rotors are made from modern composite materials and can be folded for more compact storage. Apart from composites, that other major material used in the Ka-27’s construction is titanium. Since coaxial helicopters to not require anti-torque tail rotors, it also makes the aircraft safer to operate close to buildings as it is often required to do as a flying crane.
The helicopter is crewed by a pilot, a navigator and optionally a third crew member to operate additional equipment such as a rescue hoist. The cabin itself is pressurized and air conditioned, making it a comfortable place for prolonged and complex utility missions.
In terms of flight systems, the Ka-27/32 is equipped with a three-axis autopilot which can hover at a set height above the designated landing area.
Over 140 Ka-32 family helicopters have been produced and are in operation globally in countries such as Algeria, China, Russia, Canada and India to name but a few.
A modernized version designated as the Ka-27M is under development and comes with active electronic scanned array radar. This modernization makes the Ka-27 ready for modern smart battlefield systems and neatly fits it into future battlefield digital intelligence systems.