Russia is planning to procure Ka-52 Alligator helicopters for the national Air Force in 2011, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Vladimir Drik has said.

The Ka-52, an upgrade of the basic Ka-50 design, features a two-seat side-by-side cockpit, and is designed to detect targets and redistribute them among supporting Ka-50s and Mi-28s.

While the Ka-52 retains the side-mounted cannon and six wing-mounted hardpoints of the original Ka-50, equipment includes radar with two antennas – mast-mounted for aerial targets and nose-mounted for ground targets, as well as “Samshite” day-and-night TV /thermal sighting system in two spherical turrets.

The Russian Air Force plans to procure over 1,500 new aircraft and increase the number of high-precision weapons in its armoury by 2020, RIA Novosti reports, quoting Deputy Air Force commander Lt Gen Igor Sadofyev.