When Russia committed to a multi-year buy of Mi-28 attack helicopters in 2006, it appeared that the Mil design bureau’s Mi-28 (NATO code: Havoc) had eclipsed Kamov’s more radical Ka-50 (NATO code: Hokum) as Russia’s future attack helicopter. A critical loss in Turkey’s attack helicopter competition, and conflicting promises concerning the Kamov machine’s future in Russia, left the platform’s very future in doubt. Russia’s 2005 defense budget, for instance, was supposed to include 12 Ka-50 helicopters – until that funding was cut.
Fortunately for the VVS, growing Russian natural resource revenues, and the accompanying growth in Russian defense budgets, are creating new options. So, too, is a major investment in modernizing its manufacturers, which has put the Ka-52 into production.