Air International 2021-10
A.Mladenov - Eye in the sky
The Ka-31 is also offered as a tactical AEW platform for army and air force use. In this new guise, it was touted as being well suited for battlefield surveillance to detect and track low-flying fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft as well as cruise missiles
The second Ka-31 serialled Red 032, is seen here during its flight trials by Kamov in the early 2000s, with the radar antenna deployed and rotating
The Ka-31 AEW helicopter programme survived in the late 1990s and early 2000s thanks to export orders by India and China. The production line at the KumAPE is set to be reactivated after an expected new order from India
The large radar antenna of the Oko system is stowed under the helicopter’s belly when not in use and when deployed in flight, the antenna rotates at a rate of 6rpm
Kamov promoted the Ka-31 in the early and mid-2000s for the homeland security role in Russia and abroad. The firm's then Designer General, Sergey Mikheev, was keen to highlight its valuable peacetime potential in continuous monitoring of air, sea and land borders, sea economic zones and air traffic control and co-ordination of SAR operations in large-scale natural or industrial emergencies
A Ka-31 for the Chinese Navy seen in final assembly in the KumAPE plant in Kumertau, Russia, in February 2011
This is the Ka-31 ’s third engine, the TA-8K APU, which is used for continuous power supply in flight for the helicopter’s mission suite
The Ka-31’s crew consists of a pilot and a navigator-operator who occupy the left- and right-hand seats respectively. The navigator-operator is responsible for operating the radar and datalink but does not have any control and command functions