Successful First Flight for Newest Russian Firefighting Helicopter

Expected to become one of the world’s premier firefighting helicopters, the new Ka-32A11M recently took off on its maiden flight at Russia’s flight-test complex at Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise in Bashkortostan.

The Ka-32A11M features an improved, NVG compatible “glass cockpit,” with advanced avionics based on technology that has been undergoing testing in civil versions of the Ansat and Mi-38. This helicopter will be powered by two VK-2500PS-02 engines, offering enhanced performance in high and hot conditions and increasing its load capacity by nearly 1600kg (3,527lbs). This aircraft is also equipped with the new SP-32 fire extinguishing system.

The digitally controlled SP-32 fire extinguishing system developed in collaboration between NTSV Mil, Kamov, and KumAPP can draw up to 4 tons of water in 60 seconds to fill the four compartments of its divided tank. Drops are controlled by a digital flap system allowing the operator to open the flaps in pairs or alternatingly. The operator can also adjust the angle of the flap opening giving the two crew members greater control of the pattern and coverage level of each water drop. Up to 400L of water-enhancing foam agents, may also be added.

Designed to provide the option of employing an added water cannon, the new SP-32 fire extinguishing systems are also electrically heated. This feature allows the system to continue functioning even in freezing conditions down to -20 degrees Celsius.

Derived from the Ka-30; the Ka-32 family of aircraft are well suited to perform a variety of missions in harsh conditions, even marine environments, and this newest, iteration is no different. The helicopter’s coaxial rotor system, compact footprint, ruggedness, power, and stability make it ideal not only for the aerial firefighting mission, but a host of other missions as well, including search and rescue, cargo/personnel transport, medevac, and precision lift work. Certification for the Ka-32A11M is expected to be completed in 2022 – 2023.

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