Baltic fleet to get upgraded Ka-27M helicopters in 2020

The naval aviation will receive upgraded Ka-27M helicopters. They will become operational in 2020. The helicopters will improve antisubmarine defense and help coast guards detect smugglers and drug traffickers in the Baltic Sea, the Izvestia daily writes.

Baltic fleet to get upgraded Ka 27M helicopters in 2020Ka-27M showcased at ARMY-2017 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Defense Ministry said the latest Ka-27M modification of Ka-27PL would be supplied in 2020. Its capabilities exceed those of the basic model two times. The Baltic fleet said the crews of the new helicopters had been trained in Yeisk.

In 2019, a new helicopter regiment was formed in Kaliningrad. It comprises Ka-27PL (antisubmarine), Ka-27PS (rescue) and Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopter gunships. The new Ka-27M are likely to be supplied to the unit.

Ka-27M has a two-rotor coaxial scheme. The craft is maneuverable and small as it has no torque rotor. The folding blades allow keeping the helicopter on small ships.

The upgraded vehicle has the latest equipment. It searches for submarines with a powerful sonar which is lowered into the water on a rope. The helicopter has a sensor of magnetic anomalies to detect the metal hull of a submarine. It also carries acoustic buoys. They provide guidance for the helicopter which approaches the target and destroys it with a torpedo. Ka-27M can operate solo and in a group.

Kopye-A radar with an active phased antenna array is the backbone of the electronic equipment. It searches for submarines, maps the terrain, and is used in rescue operations.

The Baltic fleet is reinforced on the background of NATO expansion in the region. In 2019, the US Navy numerously approached Kaliningrad coast. US destroyers entered the Baltic Sea twice in January and then in April and June. In 2018, there were no reports about US warships at Russian coast. However, NATO held the biggest Trident Juncture 2018 exercise at Norwegian coast since the Cold War. Previously, the Americans were regularly present in the Baltic Sea. In 2016, the Donald Cook destroyer was there.

Open sources did not report activities of US submarines in the Baltic Sea of late. However, two regional players - Germany and Sweden operate modern submarines. Germany has six submarines of project 212A. Sweden operates three Gotland-class subs and two Sodermanland-class U-boats.

They are modern submarines and adequate defense is necessary, expert Dmitry Boltenkov said. "In the past decades, the Germans and the Swedes advanced a lot in new-generation diesel-electric submarines. They have air-independent power plants and do not have to regularly surface. They can stay underwater for a long time. Ka-27M will provide a new quality to our defense," he said.

Varying depths complicate the search for submarines in the Baltic Sea. The sonar of the new helicopter can detect submarines at Kaliningrad coast at any depth, the Izvestia said.

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