The History of Kamov Company

All the World's Rotorcraft

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

5. Taking up traditions

In the final years of his creative career N.I.Kamov's health was failing. This was the result of utter exertion of physical and mental forces which had been wholly devoted to his favourite pursuit. A leader of such a rank on the threshold of his 70th birthday intended, no doubt, to prepare a successor from among his closest co-workers. However, he never got time for that.

The leadership of the defence division at the Staraya square in Moscow (where the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had its headquarters - translator's note), after carefully considering three candidates to the post of the OKB's leader, selected 35-year-old Sergei Viktorovich Mikheyev, chief of one of the company's divisions. Under the terms of a directive passed by the CPSU Central Committee and by the Government of the USSR, S.V.Mikheyev was appointed Chief Designer - the responsible leader of the OKB. Thus, the government placed its bets on a young leader of a new type. When meticulous journalists try to elicit from Mikheyev a comment on how he managed to become the "boss", having "jumped" over the position of deputy Chief Designer (and at such a "young" age!), they get an artless answer: "That's something you should ask those leaders who chose Kamov's successors."


Sergei V. Mikheyev
General Designer of the Kamov Company

The big question was whether the choice was the right one. It was; history soon put everything straight. Today we can confidently say the Powers That Be picked the right man for the job. There is something symbolical in the fact that both the founder of the OKB and his successor were born east of the Urals; Kamov was born in Irkutsk and Mikheyev still farther east, in Khabarovsk (in 1938).

After graduating from the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1962 Sergei Mikheyev was assigned to N.I.Kamov's OKB. In the course of 12 years the hand of Destiny confidently led him from the position of engineer-designer (3rd category) through the subsequent categories to the position of brigade chief, leading designer, division chief and, finally, the leader of the OKB.

Fate would have it that shortly after S.V.Mikheyev's appointment the company completed construction of the prototypes of a new-generation shipboard helicopter - an aircraft which marked the beginning of the "wise maturity" of the already world-renowned helicopter design bureau. The Ka-27 helicopter powered by two Izotov TV3-117VK turboshafts successfully passed its State acceptance trials in 1978 and entered production in Kumertau the following year. The Ka-28, the export version of the Ka-27 differing slightly in mission equipment and in having an increased fuel capacity and engines with higher emergency power rating, was developed in 1982. The Ka-28 helicopter was supplied to India, Syria, Vietnam and Yugoslavia. Later, new versions were created at the request of the Russian Navy, including the search-and-rescue Ka-27PS, the special-mission Ka-27PSD etc.

The Ka-27 (Ka-28) shipboard combat helicopter surpassed its predecessor in all operational parametres. Its emergence considerably enhanced the effectiveness of naval vessels' anti-submarine defence. The helicopter was fitted with an up-to-date integral avionics package and armed with improved homing torpedoes and rocket torpedoes with nuclear warheads, as well as depth charges. The Ka-27 is capable of searching for enemy submarines and attacking them in any location of the World Ocean, day and night, in any weather conditions. An undoubted achievement of the OKB is that the new combat helicopter has stayed within the Ka-25's overall dimensions, despite having a 50% higher take-off weight; this enabled it to be deployed without limitations on the same vessels as the Ka-25. For the development of the Ka-27 helicopter the design team, including S.V.Mikheyev, M.A.Kupfer and I.A.Ehrlikh, was awarded the prestigious Lenin Prize in 1982.

In 1973 in response to a Navy requirement the OKB started the design and construction of a transport/attack derivative of the Ka-27 - the Ka-29 shipboard helicopter. Deputy Chief Designer S.N.Fomin was entrusted with heading the design effort. Leading designer G.M.Danilochkin became his assistant, while B.V.Barshevsky was appointed leading engineer of the test programme. The prototype made its first flight on July 28, 1976 with test pilot Ye.I.Laryushin at the controls. The Ka-29 enhanced the mobility and effectiveness of amphibious landing operations, deploying both on ships and at coastal bases. The helicopter featured an effective navigation, targeting and communication suite. Its armament in the Ka-29TB assault version comprised anti-tank guided missiles, gun pods, unguided rockets, free-fall bombs and submunitions dispensers. The transport version could accomodate 16 fully-armed troops or carry outsize loads weighing up to 4000kg on a sling and was armed with a rapid-firing 7.62-mm machine-gun. The State acceptance trials were completed in May 1979 and production began in 1984.

In the world helicopter design practice there is no direct equivalent to the Ka-29. The co-axial helicopter's ease of piloting, coupled with the low vibration level, lessen targeting errors and the initial dispersal of ammunition, which considerably improves firing accuracy. This has been substantiated by comparing the test results of the single-rotor Mi-24 and the co-axial Ka-29 equipped with the same models of sights, fixed gun armament and unguided rockets. Weapon accuracy on the Ka-29 proved to be approximately twice as high. In 1987 G.M.Danilochkin was awarded the State Prize for his role in the development of the Ka-29's weapons system.

Civil versions of the Ka-27 designated Ka-32T (transport) and Ka-32S (shipboard utility and ice reconnaissance) were developed in the mid-80s to fill Civil Aviation needs. They were optimised for carrying cargo inside the cabin or on a sling, loading and unloading ships both anchored at the roadstead and under way, supporting offshore oil rigs, search-and-rescue operations etc. Development of these aircraft was led by deputy Chief Designer M.A.Kupfer, with leading designer B.Ye.Sokolov as his assistant; Ye.N.Yamshchikov was leading engineer of the test programme. The prototype flew for the first time on October 8, 1980 at the hands of test pilot Ye.I.Laryushin. The Ka-32S differed from the Ka-32T in being fitted with a search radar and a navigation system required for ice-patrol flights. Series production of the Ka-32 has been going on in Kumertau since 1986.

A special place in the company's history is occupied by work on projects for the Army Aviation. As early as 1968, when N.I.Kamov was still alive, the OKB joined the competition of design studies for an Army assault/transport helicopter. The Kamov contender was a derivative of the Ka-25 designated Ka-25F (= tactical) featuring a redesigned fuselage and skid undercarriage. The armament comprised a 23mm GSh-23 cannon with 400 rounds in a chin turret, six UB-16-57 rocket pods with 57mm unguided rockets, six "Falanga" (Solifuge) anti-tank guided missiles, and bombs. The Ka-25F project received a positive appraisal from the Air Force's research institutes but lost out to the competing Mi-24 helicopter.

The failure was a good lesson for the OKB staff, leading the Kamov designers to revise the previously prevalent approach to helicopter design competition. It also gave some food for thought for the leaders of the company. Having analyzed the situation, they rightly decided that modification was not the way to make a quantum leap in technology and hence had no chance of winning customer approval.

In 1975 the Ministry of Defence placed an order with the Kamov and Mil design bureaux for the competitive development of prototype combat helicopters with a view to choosing one of them as a successor to the Mi-24. N.I.Kamov's OKB entered with the V-80 single-seat co-axial helicopter powered by two TV3-117VMA turboshafts and featuring an integrated flight and mission avionics package and heavy and varied armament. Uniquely, the helicopter was equipped with an ejection seat for rescuing the pilot. It was capable of effectively engaging the designated targets and surviving in the 21st century's combat environment.

The first prototype took to the air on June 17, 1982 at the hands of test pilot N.P.Bezdetnov. Manufacturer's flight tests were supervised by leading engineer V.S.Dordan.

The V-80 helicopter, better known by the service designation of Ka-50 and the "Black Shark" sobriquet - was subjected to a gruelling State acceptance trials programme (1984-86) which was a fly-off against the Mi-28 in simulated operational conditions. The Kamov helicopter met all the specifications, having emerged as the winner of the competition organized by the Ministry of Defence. With regard to the cost-effectiveness criterion it has no equals in its class in the world. Upon completion of the State acceptance trials in 1995 the Ka-50 was adopted for Russian Army service by the presidential decree. Since 1991 it has been in production at the Progress Aviation Company named after N.I.Sazykin in Arsen'yev in the Russian Far East.

A major contribution to the design programme was made by S.N.Fomin, V.A.Kasyanikov, L.K.Sverkanov, M.A.Kupfer, N.N.Yemelyanov, Ye.V.Sudarev, Yu.A.Lazarenko et al. Chief designer G.V.Yakemenko continues to develop and upgrade the helicopter. All the specialists involved in the Ka-50 programme have been working under the personal guidance of Chief Designer S.V.Mikheyev (later "promoted" to General Designer). In 1996 S.V.Mikheyev, N.N.Yemelyanov, Yu.A.Lazarenko and G.V.Yakemenko were awarded the Russian Federation's State Prize for the development of the Ka-50 attack helicopter. More than 80 specialists of the Kamov Company were awarded Government Orders. Among them there were N.P.Bezdetnov, B.N.Burtsev, A.Yu.Vagin, I.B.Vitukhnovsky, A.Z.Voronkov, G.M.Danilochkin, V.S.Dordan, V.I.Dorin, V.V.Kolmakov, G.I.Kuznetsov, E.A.Petrosyan, Ye.V.Sudarev, etc.

The Ka-50 is currently manufactured in the basic daytime attack version, which is due to the Russian electronics industry lagging behind in the field of thermal imaging systems. However, the Kamov design team considers it a matter of honour to develop the Ka-50 to the level which will enable it to fulfill its mission day and night to the full extent, as specified by the government requirements. A night-capable version of the helicopter built by the OKB in 1997 was unveiled to the world aviation community at the IDEX'97 weapons show in Abu Dhabi. This helicopter designated Ka-50Sh was first flown by test pilot O.R.Krivoshein.

Predictably christened "Night Shark", the night-capable version is equipped with a nose-mounted gyrostabilised ball turret housing the "Samshit" (Boxwood) combined optical/IR/laser system developed by the Urals Optical-Mechanical Plant. The "Samshit" is a passive component of the search and targeting system (STS).

It is well known that the success of a mission performed by a group of attack helicopters depends to a considerable degree on crew teamwork and on effective control by the group commander. His helicopter has to be fitted with a more sophisticated equipment package than the others, enabling him to see targets on the battlefield better, to designate and distribute them between the other crews, to continuously direct the actions of the attack helicopters and to maintain contact with ground command posts. This is exactly the role filled by the Ka-52 "Alligator" multi-purpose all-weather combat helicopter, a two-seat derivative of the Ka-50.

The "Alligator" has retained the combat potential of its predecessor, including the ability to use the whole range of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons. Its passive/active surveillance, target detection and targeting system enables it to detect and attack targets day and night in any weather conditions. Like the single-seater, the Ka-52 is equipped with ejection seats for crew rescue in emergency.

The Ka-52 was designed to complement the Ka-50, not replace it. The efficiency of ground troops operations in which the Ka-50 and Ka-52 are used is maximised by selecting an optimum mix of the two types in a formation.

Ka-52 design, prototype construction and operational development was supervised by chief designer Ye.V.Sudarev. The prototype Ka-52 made its maiden flight on June 25, 1997 with test pilot A.K.Smirnov at the controls.

The emergence of co-axial combat helicopters evoked an extremely hostile reaction from the Russian adherents of the single-rotor helicopter layout. This was no doubt because the Ka-50/52 posed a real threat to their monopoly in the field of assault helicopter production. There was no end to statements intended to belittle the Ka-50's merits. One particular anti-Ka-50 sales pitch was that no co-axial helicopters have been developed abroad, primarily in the USA; ergo, assuming that "the Americans are no fools", it cannot be otherwise and the contra-rotating helicopter is a crazy idea.

Referring to extensive research in the field, Kamov OKB specialists were forced to refute, step by step, the most improbable fantasies of a number of officials who had a decisive say in the matter. A high price has been paid for that: no less than 13 years have passed between the Ka-50's first flight and its service entry, and the opportunity to replace the Mi-24 with a new-generation combat helicopter at an early stage has been wasted. Time and again, attempts are being made in the press to prove that a combat helicopter can be of single-rotor configuration only.

The Ka-50 and Ka-52 are army aviation attack helicopters, yet the design features they incorporate enable them to operate successfully from naval vessels. Maintaining its traditionally strong ties with the Russian Navy, the Kamov OKB considered a shipboard version of the Ka-50 as early as 1981.

In addition to attack helicopters the Army Aviation has a need for other special-mission rotorcraft. To cater for the speedy transportation of assault troops, weapons and munitions to the combat area, as well as medical evacuation and pilot training, the Kamov OKB has built the Ka-60 multi-role helicopter filling the specification issued by the Ministry of Defence. The Ka-60 is a single-rotor helicopter with a fenestron-type tail rotor. It is optimised for operating in battlefield conditions and protected against enemy AA fire. The helicopter's design incorporates many technical features successfully tested on the Ka-50 attack helicopter. The avionics suite of the Ka-62 enables it to fulfil its missions day and night in visual and instrumental meteorological conditions and enables single-pilot or two-pilot operation. Ka-62 development is headed by chief designer V.G.Krygin, V.A.Furman is the helicopter's leading designer, and N.B.Chukhrov is leading engineer in charge of the test programme. The prototype made its first flight on December 10, 1998 at the hands of test pilot A.K.Smirnov.

The concept of modern warfare is based on the dynamics of combat forces and means. In a duel-like combat situation the time factor is of crucial importance for gaining victory. The advantage belongs to the one who is the first to spot and identify the enemy and "get the bad guy before he gets you". To this end the Kamov OKB has developed the Ka-27 into an AEW/OTH targeting helicopter designated Ka-31. Its role is long-range detection of small aerial targets (fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft) at any altitude (including low-level flight), as well as of surface ships.

The Ka-31 can operate under any weather and climatic conditions and automatically track up to 20 targets, using a powerful 360 search radar. Target information is then automatically transmitted via a coded digital datalink channel to ground and shipboard command posts. The helicopter is suitable for deployment on land as well. The Ka-31 has no counterparts in the world and can be successfully used operationally both by ground forces and the Navy. In 1995 the helicopter successfully passed its State acceptance trials. Preparations for series production are under way. The design and development work is headed by deputy Chief Designer L.K.Sverkanov, with leading designer A.M.Kononenko as his assistant; V.A.Kuchenko is leading engineer of the test programme.

Despite Russia's current economic difficulties, the Kamov company continues upgrading the Ka-32. The programme proceeds under the leadership of deputy Chief Designer B.Ye.Sokolov and his assistants - leading designers B.K.Kochetkov and I.I.Sarumov. In 1990 the company began construction of the prototype Ka-32A - an updated version of the Ka-32 intended for certification according to Russian airworthiness standards which correspond to the US FAR 29 and FAR 33 (Cat B and A) Federal Aviation Regulations. The first flight of the Ka-32A took place in September 1990; the prototype was flown by test pilot D.P.Avtukhov. A.N.Telegin was leading engineer of the test programme. The type certificate was issued on July 16, 1993. In 1995 the experimental factory of the OKB was granted a certificate entitling it to launch production of the Ka-32A.

To fill an order placed in 1993 by the Moscow city authorities, the company produced a Ka-32A derivative - the fire-fighting Ka-32A1 fitted with active fire-extinguishing and search-and-rescue equipment. At present, a special unit equipped with his type of helicopters has been formed in Moscow for a round-the-clock duty. These helicopters have successfully demonstrated their effectiveness when they extinguished a number of major fires in the city, especially in the situations with limited access. There is no alternative to these helicopters when it comes to saving people from the upper stories of high buildings if the staircases are blocked by fire and smoke.

The next version, the Ka-32A2, likewise ordered by the Moscow city authorities, was built in 1995 to increase the mobility of militia (police) units. The helicopter is fitted with powerful searchlights and loudspeakers, as well as special fittings allowing troopers to deplane by rappelling down lines dropped from doors on both sides of the fuselage when the helicopter is in hover. The fuel tanks can be filled with explosion-suppression polyurethane foam to prevent an explosion caused by small-arms fire. The cockpit can be protected by removable armor.

The Ka-32K flying crane helicopter was built in 1991 to fill an order placed by the PANKh ("Employment of Aviation in the National Economy") Scientific and Production Association, an air service agency based in Krasnodar. It is intended for performing high-precision construction (assembly and demolition) work. The helicopter is fitted with an extra ventral cabin for the operator placed aft of the sling attachment point. From this cockpit the operator controls the helicopter with the help of levers sending electrical inputs into the automatic control system. A specially developed system is installed for damping the oscillations of the sling both with and without slung load.

In the course of almost three years the OKB staff, assisted by the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) and by foreign experts, had conducted painstaking work on the certification of the Ka-32A helicopter to US (FAR) and European (JAR) airworthiness regulations. They were faced with the task of proving that an aircraft fitted with Russian engines, equipment and avionics and certified to Russian requirements, conforms to high world standards. In June 1996 the Ka-32A received a type certificate in Switzerland; this was followed by a Canadian type certificate on May 11, 1998. The certificates not only enable the Ka-32A to operate in countries where the FAR and JAR are in force but also promote the helicopter's sales on the world market, which is especially important in today's increasingly competitive environment. The fact of certification in Europe and North America also testifies to the recognition of the Russian certification system, the Russian airworthiness regulations and the quality standards to which the helicopters and engines are produced.

The Ka-32A attracts foreign operators primarily by its ability to carry bulky heavy-weight cargoes externally; that's something other helicopters in its class cannot. The helicopter is agile and easy to fly and has lower direct operating costs per flight hour compared to its competitors.

The co-axial helicopter's advantage over the single-rotor helicopter is most noticeable at hover and at low flight speeds. The available lifting thrust in a co-axial helicopter is higher than in a single-rotor helicopter with an identically-rated powerplant due to the absence of loss of power needed to drive the tail rotor which, in the case of the single-rotor layout, can reach 12%. Besides, the efficiency of the co-axial rotor system is generally higher.

The high thrust-to-weight ratio of co-axial combat helicopters, notably the Ka-50, ensures also the highest hovering ceiling and vertical rate of climb compared to other rotorcraft. These characteristics constitute the main components of the machine's manoeuvrability when attacking from behind cover, especially in hot-and-high conditions. E.g, the Ka-32A utility transport with an all-up weight of 6600kg can transport an external load of 5000kg. In a new version of this helicopter currently under development the maximum external load will be increased to 7000kg.

Seven world records were established on the Ka-32 helicopter in 1983 and 1985. Various versions of the type are in service in many countries outside Russia. In 1986 Kamov test pilot N. A. Mel'nik performed a unique operation in the Ka-27 (the Ka-32's predecessor) which involved lowering a sensor pack from an altitude of 250m into the ventilation shaft of the devastated Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power station to measure radiation levels. For the uninitiated, such an intricate operation can be compared to threading a needle while holding it at arm's length. The success of this operation was ensured by the unique capabilities of the co-axial helicopter and its external load stabilization system, and, not least, by the pilot's skill.

By the mid-80s the country's agricultural aviation inventory consisted mainly of aircraft which were running out of service life. E.g, the An-2SKh/An-2R aeroplane had been in production since 1949, and the Ka-26 helicopter since 1967. Experience with the Ka-26 confirmed its high efficiency, especially in all sorts of agricultural work. To meet the requirements of national and foreign operators the Kamov OKB developed a new aircraft based on the Ka-26 - the Ka-126 powered by a single 720shp turboshaft. The helicopter is suitable for single-pilot operation and can accomodate up to six passengers. A major contribution to the design and construction of the machine was made by S.N.Fomin, V.A.Kasyanikov, Ye.G.Pak, S.I.Stetsenko led the design effort. The prototype made its first flight on October 19, 1987 with test pilot G.S.Isayev at the controls.

The new helicopter retained all the best features of its predecessor. The Ka-126 has provisions for an inertial energy accumulator to ensure safe landing in the event of engine failure. The lightweight multi-purpose Ka-126 is included in the Federal programme of the development of civil aviation technology in Russia.

Within the framework of the Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance of the Eastern Bloc) the Ka-126 was to be produced in Romania; B.V.Maklashin was appointed the OKB's representative in Romania to supervise production. However, production ground to a halt after only 12 aircraft had been built. By 1993 15 examples were in existence, three of which were built in Russia. Currently the company plans to launch production of the Ka-126 in Russia, namely at the Strela Production Association in Orenburg. An export version of this helicopter, the Ka-128, powered by a 722shp Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft has been developed for foreign customers.

The multi-purpose twin-engined Ka-226 helicopter is a further development of rotorcraft in the 3000kg category. The main customers for this helicopter are the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (Emercom), the Gazprom joint-stock company and the Moscow city authorities. The Ka-226 is intended to carry passengers and cargo and fill a wide range of other roles. It is characterized by ease of piloting, high thrust-to-weight ratio for its class and good manoeuvrability. The avionics suite ensures all-weather operation.

The helicopter has inherited the modular design, high maintainability, low vibrations levels, high reliability and flight safety from its predecessors, the Ka-26 and Ka-126. Versions developed to date include a SAR/patrol helicopter for Emercom, a fire-fighting version, an air ambulance version, a police patrol helicopter etc. The powerplant consists of two Allison 250-C20R turboshafts rated at 450shp each. The helicopter is suitable for single-pilot operation. The Ka-226 design and development work proceeds under the leadership of Chief Designer Ye.G.Pak and Deputy Chief Designer A.L.Pirozhnikov, assisted by leading designers S.I.Stetsenko and A.A.Ruzhich. The first flight of the Ka-226 took place on Septmber 4, 1997 with test pilot V.A.Lavrov at the controls. Preparations for mass production of the Ka-226 are under way at the Strela Production Association in Orenburg.

Since 1992 the OKB has been developing the Ka-62 multi-purpose high-speed helicopter in the 6000-6500kg weight class for national and foreign operators. No helicopters in this class have been produced and operated in our country since the retirement of the Mi-4. The relatively spacious passenger/cargo cabin (3.3 x 1.75 x 1.3m) equipped with air conditioning system, comfortable seats and modern interior trim create a high degree of comfort for the passengers. The avionics suite enables single- or two-pilot operations day and night, in VMC and IMC conditions; it also enables the helicopter to hover in automatic mode over the designated or chosen point on the ground.

A curious feature of this rotorcraft representing a break with previous Kamov tradition is the single-rotor layout with a fenestron - a tail rotor shrouded in the vertical tail. The main rotor and more than 50% per cent of the airframe (by weight) are made of composite materials. The helicopter is fitted with a crashworthy undercarriage and crashworthy seats. The OKB staff have purposely chosen the single-rotor layout in order to maximise cargo hold space and cruising speed (270-300km/h). Passenger, air ambulance, SAR, VIP/executive, and other versions have been developed.

In choosing the single-rotor layout for the Ka-60 and Ka-62 the Kamov designers have shown their innovative approach. "A rotorcraft's configuration is the designer's instrument for attaining the highest integral quality", says General Designer Sergei Mikheyev. The company's whole history confirms this. The OKB's founder N.I.Kamov designed rotary-wing aircraft of different layouts: single-rotor (autogyros), transverse twin-rotor (compound helicopter) and co-axial (helicopters). His successor went on perfecting the co-axial layout, but resorted to the single-rotor configuration when designing the Ka-60 and Ka-62. Besides, the company's specialists continue to study rotorcraft of tandem and transverse twin-rotor layouts, making use of the latest achivements of science and technology and benefitting from the experience obtained with the Ka-22 compound helicopter.

In 1995 the Government of the Russian Federation issued a directive ordering the development of a new version of the Ka-62 designated Ka-64. The prototype construction, trials and series production programme is a joint effort with the well-known Italian company Agusta. The Ka-64 differs from the basic model Ka-62 in having a classic tail rotor instead of a fenestron, a different powerplant and revised cabin interior. The Ka-64 programme is headed by Chief Designer V.G.Krygin, with V.K.Golovnya as leading designer.

In order to reinstate the lost category of indigenous rotorcraft in the 2000kg weight class represented by the Ka-15 and the Ka-18, in 1993 the company started work on a new-generation lightweight multi-purpose single-engine co-axial helicopter - the Ka-115. The helicopter has skid undercarriage; the airframe, undercarriage and seats are designed for maximum crashworthiness in the event of a hard landing. The helicopter is scheduled to enter producton in 2001. The development programme is headed by Deputy Chief Designer B.A.Gubarev.

An ultra-light experimental co-axial helicopter designated Ka-37 with take-off weight of 250kg was built in late 1993. This is a remotely piloted rotor-craft intended for aerial photography, TV and radio relay and ecological survey in dangerous or inaccessible areas. The onboard avionics suite enables the RPV to fly in automatic preprogrammed flight mode, to be remotely controlled from a ground control station, or to combine both modes. Controlled from the ground by test pilot N.P.Bezdetnov, the Ka-37 made its first flight on March 5, 1993.

Experience accumulated with the Ka-37 enabled the OKB specialists to speedily design the multi-role remotely piloted Ka-137 for military and civil duties. This compact rotorcraft can conduct reconnaissance for the Navy and the ground forces. It is capable of inspecting areas hit by ecological disasters, as well as performing a number of other tasks assigned to its predecessor. The leadership of this line of work at the company has been entrusted to Chief Designer V.G.Krygin, assisted by leading designer Yu.V.Shibanov.

Here we might finish describing the remarkable Russian helicopter company. Sadly, N.I.Kamov's co-workers and veterans who devoted the best years of their life to aviation pass away one by one. However, the company's history does not end at that; a new generation of talented and dedicated staff is coming. Currently the OKB has been transformed into the Kamov joint-stock company (JSC). It comprises the design office, the experimental shop, the flight test facility and auxiliary divisions, as well as the Urals branch in the town of Verkhnyaya Salda, offices at the Arsenyev Progress Aviation Joint-Stock Company named after N.I.Sazykin and at the Kumertau Aircraft Production Association. The company's staff comprises nearly 3000 of Russia's best aviation specialists in the field of rotorcraft technology.

In the new conditions the creative team continues to work on advanced projects, efficiently using and further enlarging its accumulated potential. Major lines of activity are headed by highly-experienced professionals who have earned an excellent reputation, such as V.A.Kasyanikov, A.F.Vakulenko, V.G.Krygin, Ye.G.Pak, G.V.Yakemenko, Ye.V.Sudarev, L.K.Sverkanov, N.N.Yemelyanov, V.I.Dorin, B.l.Trushin, V.S.Dordan etc. The management of the Kamov joint-stock company is exercised by its President, General Director and General Designer Sergei Viktorovich Mikheyev.

In conclusion, it is important to note that some 20 helicopter-building companies around the world are engaged in the development of single-rotor layout of rotorcraft. Among them are such well-knowm firms as Sikorsky, Bell Textron, Hughes (later McDonnell Douglas Helicopters, currently Boeing Helicopters), the Moscow Helicopter Factory named after M.L.Mil', GKN Westland, Agusta, Aerospatiale, Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (the latter two are now part of the Eurocopter consortium), etc. In Russia, the co-axial helicopter layout has been widely mastered alongside with the single-rotor layout. For 50 years the Kamov company has been engaged in developing and perfecting this layout, and it has achieved striking results. However, the advantages of the co-axial configuration are not nearly fully implemented. There is a good chance to do this already in the beginning of the 21st century.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

From "OKB Kamov. 50 years" by G.I.Kuznetsov