In September 1969 the Mil Design Bureau modified the Hip into the Mi-14 Haze for naval applications, mainly for shore-based ASW operations. The Mi-14 received a boat-hulled lower fuselage with pontoons on either side and a retractable landing gear. A radar dome under the nose and an internal weapons bay differentiated the Mi- 14 from the Mi-8. Both the Mi-8 and Mi-14 carried infrared jammers and flare/chaff dispensers.
Another modification allowed the TV2-117TG engines to operate on both liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and standard jet fuel (a type of kerosene). Large external tanks held the LPG under low pressure, and the pilots switched the engines to regular fuel for takeoffs and landings. The LPG tanks reduced the helicopter’s payload by 220 to 330 pounds but extended its useful range by several miles.
In July 1961 the Kamov Ka-20 Harp appeared for the first time during the Soviet Aviation Day celebration. The Ka-20 followed the traditional N. I. Kamov coaxial rotor design, with two three-bladed, counter-rotating main rotors. A large bulge under the forward fuselage and a fairing under the tailboom indicated that the Ka-20 was an ASW helicopter of some type. It was much larger than the Ka-18, with dual turbine engines mounted over the cabin body. Two fixed machine guns protruded from the nose, and two air to surface missiles (ASM), probably dummies, hung from external racks on each side of the helicopter. The new craft proved to be an advanced prototype of the Ka-25 Hormone, which became operational with the Soviet Navy in 1965.
Only slightly different from its predecessor, the Kamov Bureau (OKB) produced the Ka-25 Hormone in three major variants, all powered by two Glushenko GTD-3 900-horsepower turboshafts, as well as featuring a coaxial rotor system and the compact body most effective in shipboard operations. OKB designers included folding main rotor blades, reducing the Ka-25′s stowed length to only 36 feet. The Hormone A, designed specifically to destroy nuclear-powered submarines, carried two pilots and three sensor technicians to operate ASW equipment, which included a search radar installed in a large, chin-mounted radome, a towed magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), and a dipping sonar housed in a compartment at the rear of the cabin. Some models featured ventral weapons bays by which the Ka-25 could be armed with torpedoes, depth charges (including nuclear), or air to surface missiles. Later improvements to the Hormone included an automatic pilot, state-of-the-art avionics, and a vastly improved over-the-water navigation system for precise targeting of submarines and surface vessels. By 1968 the Hormone A operated from cruisers of the Kresta and Kara classes, Moskva and Leningrad carrier/cruisers, and Kiev and Minsk ASW carriers. The smaller cruisers carried only two Ka-25s, while as many as eighteen Hormones operated off the larger ASW carriers.
The second variant carried search radar and other electro-optic target acquisition equipment for over-the-horizon guidance of surface- to-surface missiles and naval rifles. A larger, and more spherical, chin radome, a cylindrical radome mounted at the aft end of the fuselage, and no ventral bays differentiated the Ka-25 B from other models. The Hormone reached an airspeed of 105 knots, a range of 350 nautical miles, and a service ceiling of 11,000 feet.
In a later variant, the Hormone C, OKB engineers removed the ASW and targeting instrumentation and equipped the helicopter for SAR missions. Without the electronic gear the large cabin also offered a secondary capability of transporting twelve naval infantry troops. Two other versions appeared in limited numbers, the Ka-25 BT mine countermeasures helicopter and the Ka-25 K civilian helicopter, which had a small cockpit under the forward fuselage for slingload operations. In the event of ditching, most models of the Hormone were fitted with inflatable pontoons on each of the four landing gear struts. Between 1965 and 1975 the USSR produced more than 460 Ka-25s, with export models sent to Syria, India, Bulgaria, North Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.
In January 1964 the Soviet government issued a directive for both an agricultural and a passenger transport helicopter. On August 18 of the next year, the Kamov Bureau responded with the prototype Ka-26 Hoodlum, a small, multipurpose helicopter. Kamov deputy chief designer M. A. Kupfer and project leading engineer Y. I. Petrukhin, of course, specified the installation of OKB’s typical coaxial rotor system atop the boxlike fuselage of the Ka-26. The craft incorporated a conventional Kamov tail assembly of twin vertical fins with rudders and an interconnecting horizontal stabilizer, which included the elevator. The helicopter sat on a four-wheeled fixed landing gear. Initial manufacture began in 1967 at the Kumertau Aircraft Plant. Placed in full production in 1970, the multirole helicopter was powered by two 325-horsepower Vedeneyev M-14V- 26 nine-cylinder radial engines. Flown by either one or two pilots, the Hoodlum hauled loads of 2,000 pounds up to altitudes of 9,850 feet, at speeds of 95 knots. OKB’s modular design and interchangeable cargo containers permitted rapid conversion of the Hoodlum from a passenger carrier to an air ambulance, crop duster, or “flying crane.” Kamov OKB first used composite materials for the engine cowlings, rotor blades, and chemical hoppers, which increased the useful life of Ka-26 subassemblies. The composite rotor blades, for example, demonstrated a service life of 5,000 hours, compared with the 600 to 800 hours of conventional metal blades of the era. With OKB production methods patented in five Western nations, the Hoodlum became the only Soviet helicopter certificated under U. S. federal aviation regulations (FAR). The Soviet Union produced at least 850 Ka-26s and exported the machine worldwide.
In 1970, Kamov created his first designs for the next generation of Soviet naval helicopters. He envisioned a machine similar in size to the Ka-25 but with an updated avionics and weapons package. On December 24, 1973, OKB’s chief pilot, Y. I. Laryushin, lifted the prototype Ka-252 off for its first flight. Unfortunately, the aircraft’s designer did not see his project completed; Kamov died on November 24. Sergei Viktorovich Mikheyev then assumed the directorship of OKB, which in 1974 was renamed in honor of Nikolai Il’yich Kamov.
Developed from the Ka-252 prototype, the Ka-27 Helix produced more power from the two Isotov TV3-117 2,225-horsepower turboshafts mounted under the three-bladed coaxial rotor system. Only slightly longer than the Ka-25, the Helix had a redesigned tail assembly. With a maximum gross weight of 24,250 pounds, the Ka-27 rotor diameter measured 52 feet, 2 inches and the aircraft 37 feet, 1 inch in length. Capable of 140 knots, the Helix had a maximum range of 432 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 19,700 feet. Designed specifically for the Soviet Navy as an ASW hunter/killer, the Helix did not become operational until 1978.
In 1973 the Soviet Aviation Ministry issued directives to develop an attack/assault transport helicopter for support of naval infantry and amphibious operations. OKB Kamov’s Deputy Chief Designer S. N. Fomin led the program with leading designer G. M. Danilochkin and leading engineer B. V. Barshevsky as his chief assistants. On July 28, 1976, test pilot Y. I. Laryushin lifted the Ka-29 prototype off on its first flight. The design bureau completed all acceptance trials by May 1979 and placed the Ka-29 Helix B in full production in 1984.
Based on the Ka-27 Helix, OKB widened the fuselage and revamped the forward section with a five-piece flat windscreen and blunt nose, which housed a FLIR/TV sighting system and a new search/targeting radar. Armament stations included a fixed multiple-barreled 7.62-mm machine gun under the right side fuselage, and winglets on which to mount a variety of weapons. Two Klimov (Isotov) TV3-117V 2,190-horsepower turboshafts turned two typical Kamov three-bladed 52-foot, 2-inch coaxial rotors, which allowed the Ka-29 to take off at a maximum gross weight of 27,775 pounds. This translated into two pilots and up to sixteen combat-loaded troops, or four litters and six seated patients with two attendants in the air ambulance modification, or an 8,800-pound slingload. Typical weapons loaded on the Ka-29TB attack version included four 57- or 80-mm rocket pods, or two rocket pods and two four-round clusters of AT-6 Spiral ASMs. In addition to a 30-mm cannon mounted above the left wing, the helicopter could also be armed with submunition dispensers (CBUs) or conventional free-fall bombs. In several comparison tests with the Mi-24D Hind, the Ka-29TB, because of the almost vibrationless rotor system, proved almost twice as effective at placing its ordnance on target as the Hinds.
The pilots enjoyed the communications and electronics suite provided in the new Helix B. These systems included a Doppler radar, and later GPS, navigational system, integrated with computerized displays of flight and targeting information incorporated into a modern cockpit layout. All versions cruised at 125 knots with a maximum airspeed of 151 knots, and a maximum range of 400 nautical miles. The Soviet Navy planned on a combat radius of 54 nautical miles, including six to eight attack passes for the Ka-29TB.
In the early 1980s the Soviet Union provided ASW helicopters to other countries. With the advent of the Ka-29 the USSR sold the Ka-28, a downgraded export version of the Ka-27, to India, Ukraine, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The Ka-28 carried a dipping sonar, disposable sonobuoys, and wire-guided torpedoes, or depth charges, but not the latest in electronic submarine detection gear. The Soviets sold their allies an upgraded version of the equipment carried by the Ka-27, but not the advanced electronics installed on the Ka-29 Helix.
On October 8, 1980, a prototype medium lift multipurpose version of the Ka-27 also appeared. Intended as a commercial helicopter and known as the Ka-32 Helix C, it had two Klimov TV3117V 2,190-horsepower turboshafts that turned the same counter-rotating three-blade main rotors installed on the Ka-29. The several versions of the Ka-32 also had the wider fuselage of the Ka-29, indicating a probable developmental link between the two machines.
A pilot and navigator crewed the Ka-32T transport version, which accommodated sixteen passengers, or an internal load of 8,820 pounds, or an 11,000-pound slingload. The Helix C appeared in passenger/cargo transport, air ambulance, fire-fighting, police, flying crane, and SAR versions. The Ka32K featured a retractable underfuselage gondola for a second pilot to fly the aircraft while picking up or delivering bulky slingloads. The Ka-32S SAR helicopter included a search radar, as well as advanced flight and navigation instrumentation for IFR and maritime operations. The Russian government and commercial operators also made use of the Ka-32S in offshore oil explorations. Without a slingload the Ka-132 attained a maximum airspeed of 135 knots and a range of 430 nautical miles without auxiliary fuel. Although described as a commercial helicopter, and sold or leased to several foreign countries, Ka-32s in Aeroflot colors were photographed operating from the decks of vessels belonging to the Russian Navy.
As the economy of the USSR decayed, Soviet, then Russian, industries began to seek civil and foreign markets for their products. In October 1988, Kamov introduced the first of fifteen civilian variants of the Ka-126 derived from the naval Ka-26 Hoodlum. The Ka- 126 featured a modular concept to rapidly convert the light, multipurpose helicopter to accomplish several diversified missions. Wide use of composites in both the traditional three-bladed coaxial rotors and fuselage lightened the aircraft, which resulted in increased load capacity and range. A single TVO-100 720-horsepower turboshaft, mounted above the cabin, provided power to lift a pilot and six passengers, or an internal cargo load of 2,200 pounds. The 126 cruised at 90 knots and attained a service ceiling of 15,250 feet. Kamov intended the Ka-126 to fulfill EMS, police, passenger/cargo transport, and geological/oil survey roles. The agricultural version, designed especially for crop spraying, was equipped with a cockpit air filtration system to prevent toxic chemicals from entering the flight deck. Kamov installed a 722-horsepower Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft in one export version of the helicopter.