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Egypt Beef Up Its Russian-Made KA-52 Attack Helicopters with “Vikhr” Long-Range Anti-Tank Missiles

In 2015, Cairo signed an agreement with the Russian defense agency ROSOBORONEXPORT to acquire 46 KA-52 attack helicopters, with these armed helicopters were delivered between 2017 and 2019, marking Egypt as the only export-customer of the highly-capable attack helicopter.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Amidst escalating tensions in the Middle East, it has been reported that Egypt has received significant quantity of long-range anti-tank missiles,  “Vikhr-1,” for use with its Russian-made attack helicopters, the KA-52 “Alligator.”

Egypt is the sole user of the KA-52 attack helicopters outside of Russia.

 In 2015, Cairo signed an agreement with the Russian defense agency ROSOBORONEXPORT  to acquire 46 KA-52 attack helicopters, with these armed helicopters were delivered between 2017 and 2019, marking Egypt as the only export-customer of the helicopter.

The KA-52 helicopters used by Egypt are the KA-52K (Katran) variant, enabling them to operate from the flight decks of its two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships acquired from France.

Both Mistral-class ships, Gamal Abdel Nasser (formerly known as Vladivostok) and Anwar Al-Sadat (formerly known as Sevastopol), were obtained by Egypt in 2015 after Russia faced economic sanctions, preventing the delivery of these ships to Moscow.

The purchase of these ships, built by the French shipbuilder DCNS (now Naval Group), is believed to have been financed by Saudi Arabia.

Armed helicopters KA-52 and Apache owned by Egypt on board Mistral-class Amphibious Assault Ship.


In addition to the KA-52 helicopters from Russia, Egypt has also procured dozens of Apache attack helicopters from the United States.

The long-range anti-tank missiles, known as “Vikhr” (AT-16 Scallion), utilize a laser-beam riding guidance system to target ground targets.

Equipped with a Tandem HEAT Charge warhead, the “Vikhr” missile can engage targets at distances ranging between 10-12 km.

Developed by the renowned Russian guided missile manufacturer KBP Instrument Design Bureau, the “Vikhr” missile’s warhead can penetrate approximately 1000mm of armored vehicle thickness.

Meanwhile, the KA-52K attack helicopter, developed by the helicopter manufacturer Kamov Design Bureau, is the only armed helicopter equipped with an ejection seat.

 Initially deployed by the Russian Armed Forces in 1995, the KA-52 “Alligator” has undergone several improvements, especially after facing challenges during the early stages of the conflict in Ukraine.

“Vikhr” (AT-16 Scallion)


Western media reports suggest that Russia experienced losses of up to 25 percent of its KA-52 attack helicopters, mainly to Western-supplied shoulder-launched air defense systems in Ukraine.

However, Russia adapted its strategy and upgraded its armed helicopters, with the KA-52 at present playing a crucial role in Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Recently, Russia is reportedly upgrading its KA-52M “Alligator” attack helicopters by outfitting them with a “ventral all-around radar station” to handle more targets.

 Military analysts also state that with the new all-around radar capability, the KA-52 attack helicopter can serve as a reconnaissance platform, providing critical target data to other assets on the battlefield.

All these systems are designed to operate in all weather conditions, day and night, as well as in electronic warfare environments that may limit the capabilities of other armed helicopters.

“The KA-52 attack helicopter will receive a new all-around radar operating in centimeter-range. With this new capability, the armed helicopter will be able to detect more air and ground targets such as enemy combat aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, artillery positions, and more,” according to a military analyst interviewed by the Russian media, RIA-Novosti.


The latest variant of the armed helicopter’s weaponry system is also equipped with the Izdeliye 305 (Product 305) system, allowing it to engage smaller targets and armored vehicles in limited visibility conditions.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has urged the developers of armed helicopters to continue upgrading the capabilities of attack helicopters and pay attention to the safety of their crews.

Russia’s current advantage in the battlefield in Ukraine is achieved as its attack helicopters are now equipped with long-range anti-tank guided missiles, enhancing their effectiveness in destroying ground targets, especially armored military vehicles used by Ukraine during the current counter-offensive phase.

“Russia currently holds a temporary advantage in southern Ukraine, particularly with its KA-52 attack helicopters using long-range guided missiles against ground targets,” according to a report from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense. – DSA