HomeIndian NavyIndian Navy to upgrade 10 Kamov Ka-28 helicopters with Israeli Skimmer Naval...

Indian Navy to upgrade 10 Kamov Ka-28 helicopters with Israeli Skimmer Naval upgrade package

Source : Indian Defence Analysis

Indian Navy has been the user of Russian Kamov KA naval helicopters for the last three decades. It has experience of operating Kamov Ka-25 and Ka-28, and the most recent one is Kamov Ka-31. Indian Navy currently operates 14 Ka-31 helicopters and there is a need for more such helicopters to fulfill the operational requirement. The Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers INS Vikrant & INS Vikramaditya, its newly commissioned Vishakhapatnam class destroyers & upcoming Talwar & Nilgiri class frigates would require Airborne Early warning helicopters.

Indian Navy to upgrade 10 Kamov Ka-28 helicopters with Israeli Skimmer Naval upgrade package

Indian Navy to upgrade 10 Kamov Ka-28 helicopters with Israeli Skimmer Naval upgrade package

India has initially planned to buy 10 Kamov Ka-31 helicopters from Russia in May 2019, but the acquisition program faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, price negotiation, rupee-ruble trade & then Russia Ukraine war. The budgetary constraints and India’s preference to acquire indigenously developed helicopters could also be one of the reasons for the Ka-31 helicopter acquisition going on the back burner.

E-801M Oko (Eye) airborne electronic warfare radar

The most unique feature of the Ka-31 helicopter is its electronic warfare radar. The main mission of the Ka-31 is a long-range detection of airborne and naval threats. It is fitted with the E-801M Oko (Eye) airborne electronic warfare radar which features a 6×1 meter planar array mounted beneath the fuselage. The radar is folded and stowed beneath the aircraft’s fuselage before being lowered into a vertical position, to allow 360º mechanical scanning of the radar once every ten seconds. All four landing gear units are retractable, making space for the movement of the E-801E Oko (eye) surveillance radar’s antenna.

This helicopter can track targets over much larger horizons than the ship’s radars. It makes it an important completion for the naval task force, whose ships are too small to operate carrier-borne early warning aircraft. The radar can simultaneously track up to 40 airborne or surface threats and can detect fighter-sized aircraft from a range of 100 – 200 km (depending on the size of the target) and surface ships at a horizon of 200 km from an altitude of 9840 feet.

KA-28 Upgrade

This was about the capability of the Ka-31 helicopter’s radar. Indian Navy operates 13 Ka-28 Helicopters including 3 trainers which entered service with the Indian Navy in the mid-80s. The helicopter has an operational range of 500km and features Splash Drop search radar, VGS-3 dipping sonar, and sonobuoys. It can carry Up to about 2000 kg of disposable stores carried in a lower-fuselage weapon bay, generally comprising two torpedoes or depth charges.

Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) Limited designed Skimmer Naval Helicopter Upgrade Package

The ReviewVayu has reported that the 10 KA-28 helicopters of the Indian Navy are being upgraded to KV-28 standards. The technical life extension of the platform is being done in Russia and it’s being upgraded by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. in India, with the advanced maritime mission suite package ‘The Skimmer’.

The Skimmer integrates advanced mission systems, sensors, and avionics such as Radar, Electronic Warfare Support Measures (ESM), Electro-Optic Payloads, Datalink, Communication Intelligence (COMINT), Sonar, Sonics, Mission Management and Monitoring Systems, Anti-Ship Missiles (ASM) as well as other Weapons together under one package.

Once upgraded with IAI’s Skimmer package, Ka-28 will be a potent ASW/ASuW helicopter in the coming years.

MH 60R Romeo acquisition update

Indian Navy is also in process of inducting the 24 MH-60R Romeo helicopters from US. Navy has already received 5 helicopters & the 6th one will be delivered in December 2023. The remaining helicopters will be delivered by the year 2027.



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