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Will the American “Apache” will peck up the Russian “Alligator”?

In the US, they consider that their AN-64 helicopter is stronger than the Ka-52, especially in the mountains.

The American edition of We Are The Mighty has published material in which two attack helicopters are compared in detail – the Russian Ka-52 Alligator and the American AN-64 Apache. The task of this comparison is extremely ambitious, it is intended to establish which helicopter is the best in the world. Of course, in its class of shock helicopters.


In numerical terms, “Apache”, of course, puts the “Alligator” on the shoulder blades. Since 1980, more than 2 thousand “Native Americans” of six modifications have been produced. They are operated in armies of 15 countries. In the US, there are currently more than 800 such machines of the last two modifications.


Quantitative indicators Ka-52 is much more modest. True, this helicopter is much younger – its mass production began in 2008. But the dynamics of the release does not allow us to hope that by his fortieth birthday he will catch up and overtake Apache. In total, about 150 vehicles were built, 130 are used in the Russian armed forces, 46 deck-based Ka-52K “Katran” helicopters are shipped to Egypt. At this geography is exhausted.


– Who is the best? – asks the American edition. – Maybe the world’s first attack helicopter AH-1, which is still being operated? Or the MH-47, which manifested itself in Vietnam, equipped with powerful weapons? Or the first helicopter that received the AH-64 Apache air-to-air missiles? All of them are great, but there are very strong arguments in favor of the Russian Ka-52.


So what are these arguments? Ka-52 is better and more diverse armed. It is equipped with a 30 mm caliber cannon, Igla-V missiles for air targets, two types of anti-tank missiles

– Attack and Whirlwind, unguided missiles and X-35 Uran anti-ship missile.


The Apache has only one type of anti-tank missiles – AGM-114 Hellfire (Hellfire). At the same time, the fire is not so hellish, the American rocket has armor penetration of 800 mm of homogeneous armor. In the “Attack” this parameter is 950 mm, in the “Whirlwind” – 1000 mm. At the same time, the “Whirlwind” range is 10 km, which is 2 km more than the Hellfire. True, the “Attack” is capable of hitting armored vehicles at a distance of 6 km.


In fairness, it should be noted that Hellfire in functionality is wider than ATGM. A missile equipped with a homing head has several different warheads. Among them, high-explosive fragmentation, penetrating and thermobaric, including, of course, tandem cumulative for armor.


The advantage of the “Alligator”, and a serious one, is the power of unguided rockets. They are two calibers – 80 mm and 122 mm. “Apache” has only a caliber of 70 mm.


At the same time, the Russian helicopter is a cut above in terms of the destruction of naval targets. The X-35 is significantly superior to Hellfire in both the launch range and the power of the warhead. The Mighty brings here such a visual correlation of forces: the Ka-52 is capable of hitting a tanker at a distance of up to 130 km, the AH-64 is only a small ship not further than 6 km.


And finally, the last argument in favor of the Russian Ka-52 helicopter. Its speed is higher, though not by much. 300 km / h vs. 278 km / h.


Next come the arguments in favor of Apache. It is able to carry 16 missiles against 12 at the Ka-52. And this means that its missiles can deliver a more powerful blow to ground targets. True, the authors of the publication forget to report that the Ka-52 can deliver 4 bombs of 500 kg each to the battlefield. This greatly exceeds the shock capabilities of Hellfire. Of course, the accuracy of the strike is incommensurable, but it does not always play a decisive role.


Estimating the range of these two machines, the authors of the publication for some reason take into account only the fermentation range, that is, the flight “empty”, without armament, using suspended fuel tanks. It is at “Apache” significantly higher, one and a half times. But the practical range, when the helicopter transfers combat load, is essentially the same – 480 km from the Apache against 460 km.


But the difference in altitude characteristics is significant. The practical ceiling for the AH-64 is 6400 m, for the Alligator it is 5500 m. And here The Mighty makes a completely stunning conclusion: «This difference can be of great importance, for example, in Afghanistan. Also, the Apaches could protect American soldiers on the Russian Mount Elbrus, while the Ka-52 would have fluttered much lower.»


As they say, stride widely, pants will tear.


Apache has one more advantage, a very substantial one, which the American edition has forgotten to say. This is a nadapt accommodation (that is, on top of the main rotor) radar. That allows the pilot, having hidden the car behind any natural obstacle like a hill or a wall, being invisible for the opponent, to observe the situation in a foreign territory. And, choosing a target, make a hop and launch a rocket. Then again, hide the car. The Ka-52 is not capable of this, its radar is located in the forward fuselage.


But “Apache” is not able to do some things that the Kamov bureau designed machine is capable. “Alligator” has a coaxial arrangement of screws. This allows him to be the absolute world record holder in maneuverability. For example, he can make a complete “dead loop”. But this, of course, for air rides, and not for combat.


The Ka-52 is able almost instantly to dramatically change the direction of flight almost 90 degrees, fly sideways and backwards at a speed of 100 km / h. No other helicopter in the world, except for the Alligator, can repeat the funnel maneuver. It represents a flight in a circle or in a more complex trajectory around a target or group of targets, in which the nose of the helicopter and, of course, the gun and rocket weapons are aimed at the enemy.


The most important quality of the attack helicopter is survivability, since it spends most of the time in solving combat missions in close proximity to the enemy and can be reached for shelling.


Both helicopters have two engines, which ensures the safety of the machine and the crew in case of hitting one of the engines. At the same time, the Ka-52 has a greater power supply due to the higher engine power – 2,400 hp. against 1900 hp.


Both there and there are armored cabs, including glazing. However, here there is a significant difference. The Alligator has titanium and armored glass. In “Apache” – Kevlar, composite material. It must withstand the shelling of a large-caliber machine gun. However, in practice, everything is much worse. In 2003, an Iraqi peasant shot down an AH-64 from a hunting rifle. There are quite often cases when pilots and weapon operators, protected by Kevlar, hit a Kalashnikov assault rifle.


Hitler’s submarines were operating over 5,000 km from the front line in the deep rear of the USSR

Savings on armor due to the fact that “Apache” sought to make the most secretive. A small cross-section of the helicopter assumed minimal illumination on enemy radars. Exhaust gases are mixed with outboard air, thereby reducing visibility in the infrared spectrum. Even the noise was reduced to the minimum possible using two tail rotors. However, all this is a great theory, “Apache” is too often knocked down for such a serious and expensive machine.


The crew rescue is organized in different ways. In the case of an American helicopter, a non-retractable landing gear is able to damp the car’s fall at a speed of 10 m / s. The Russian is the ejection of the crew.


Practically all the Russian media, commenting on an article in the American edition, limited themselves to listing the items “for health” of the Ka-52. On this basis, “Alligators” were named the best in the world. However, the Americans insist on the opposite. (We have listed all their points “for health” of AH-64). Well, they look into the future with even greater optimism, stating that against the background of promising SB-1 Defiant or V-280 Valor helicopters, the Russian Alligator will look just like a tadpole. And this is more than strange, because the helicopter with coaxial bearing rotors and pushing rear SB-1 Defiant propeller and V-280 Valor convertoplane are not impact vehicles, but transport vehicles.

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