September 6, 2010
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
The Department of Aerospace Engineering at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus recently acquired an anti-submarine, ship-board helicopter from the Indian Navy.
“We acquired this purely for educational purposes,” stated Dr. V. Sivakumar, Associate Professor at the Department. With this, we will be able to demonstrate the role, function and working of various subsystems of an aircraft to students.”
“Students will gain first-hand experience by working on subsystems of a real aircraft. They will do this as part of their Aircraft Design Laboratory class.”
A Russian model named Kamov-25 aka KA-25, the helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 220 km/hr and at an altitude of 3.5 km. It has a range of 450 km, which means that it can complete a flight of that distance without having to refuel.
A typical crew aboard a KA-25 might consist of two pilots and two or three equipment operators. Since the cabin is large enough to accommodate twelve people, the craft has been extensively used for troop transport, as well.
The model was inducted in the Indian Navy in 1980. Since then, the KA-25 fleet has been used in a large number of war and peace time operations, before being grounded in mid-2009 on account of aging.
“The helicopter is powered by two 671 kW Glushenkov GTD-3F turboshafts, that are mounted side-by-side; these drive the two contra-rotating rotors,” explained Dr. Sivakumar.
“The use of folding three-blade coaxial rotors requires no tail rotor. Along with the triple tail fins, this ensures compact stowage aboard a ship.”
“The helicopter’s aerodynamically symmetrical layout, coupled with autopilot, sophisticated avionics suite and good handling qualities, enables a pilot to undertake a long-endurance combat task under any weather conditions.”
Dr. J. Chandrashekhar, Chairperson of the Department, explained further.
“A conspicuous design feature of this aircraft is the flat bottom, under-nose radome that houses the search radar, which is an integral part of anti-submarine operations. The Kamov is fitted with a mission avionics suite and a weapons system which allows the helicopter to navigate above the water surface devoid of any reference points and fulfill the task of locating and destroying a submarine, both in manual and automatic mode.”
“We hope that the helicopter will help students learn concepts through real models,” he added.
Students seem to agree. “I think that we can learn the theoretical aspects of aerodynamics in a more practical way,” stated Nikhil Mohan, second-year student of aerospace engineering.