The Russian Pacific Fleet naval aviation division is happy to receive a bunch of new and updated aircraft: consisting of AN-140-100s and IL-38s.
The first new Ukrainian designed but locally produced Antonov AN-140-100 joins the force this December, with a second machine in the first half of 2016, the Russian Ministry of Defence writes in a statement.
“Dolphin” detecting targets
During 2015 four modernized Ilyushin IL-38Ns made it back to operational duty with the Asian maritime force of “the Motherland”. Now on anti-submarine and maritime patrol duties the IL-38Ns are able to detect targets up to 49 nautical miles (90 km) and track them within a 173 nautical miles (320 km). The “Dolphin” – as the NATO-reporting name for the type goes – is even able to carry out attacks independently, carrying up to 9 tons of torpedoes or depth charges.
The Russian Ministry of Defence boasts the IL-38N has an increased capacity of four times the original aircraft. The Pacific Fleet’s IL-38s – old and new – operate from Yelizovo and Nikolayevka airbases.
Antonov AN-140-100 by Aviacor
The origin of the new AN-140-100s transport aircraft is not clear. Russia reportedly stopped production after its forces collided with the military of Ukraine inside Ukrainian borders supporting pro-Russian rebel forces. Ukraine is home of the Antonov aircraft factory and design bureau of the type. The new delivery may mean that Russia’s Aviacor is able to fulfill at least half of the latest full order of six aircraft with the machines that were believed not to make to the end of the production line before manufacturing was ended.
For the first time in 25 years the Russian Air Force held a large-scale joint exercise in the beginning of July between the Russian Air Defence Forces and the combat aircraft of the Western Military District in the skies of and near St. Petersburg, relatively close to borders with Finland and the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
About two dozen Sukhoi Su-34s and Su-27s plus Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 SMTs and MiG-31s took up a simulated air war against Russia’s own radar systems, self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery and S-300 surface-to-air missile units. The exercise included surprise bombing attacks from three directions on strategic targets in the St. Petersburg area. Purpose of the “city bombing” training was to help train aircrews to penetrate heavily defended areas to hit vital enemy locations on the ground.
Of course, no real bombs were dropped. All “hits” were recorded electronically to measure the success of the bombing crews and the air defence opposing them.
Parallel to exercise in the St. Petersburg area, the Russian Northern fleet put up air-to-surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises. Tupolev Tu-142 bombers and Ilyushin IL-38 patrol aircraft worked out bombing procedures, while Kamov Ka-27 helicopters dropped torpedoes. The main mission was to train the flight crews in the search and identification of enemy submarines.
Secondary air ice reconnaissance missions were flown over the Arctic Sea – especially the so-called Northern Sea Route which is a shipping short-cut from Western Europe to Asia when ice conditions allow it.
Russia’s Northern Fleet naval aviators have to go back to school to get a handle on the revamped Ilyushin IL-38N submarine hunter and maritime patrol aircraft Russian media reported on Sunday 5 January 2014.
A Northern Fleet spokesperson gave the press core an update on the new old aircraft with NATO reporting name May that made its first flight in 1961. The modernisation of the IL-38 includes new hydro-acoustic and magnetic beacons, which are reportedly equal or better than the ones of NATO. The new Novella sensors can detect targets up to 320 km (172 nautical miles) away.
The Novella system is a copy of the Sea Dragon system of the Indian Navy IL-38s. The sensors are able to detect magnetic variations to find submarines and surface vessels, or wales and other big sea animals.
The IL-38 has a typical crew of 7. The plane can cruise up to 323 knots at a maximum altitude of 24,000 feet. The IL-38s have so fare made more than 6,000 flights in their years in service. Ilyushin built 58 aircraft of the type, but it is unclear how many of the 45 aircraft known to have flown in Russian service are still in airworthy condition.
The Russian Northern Fleet intends to use the IL-38N also to update their Arctic Ocean charts. Russia is currently building up its forces big time, focusing a lot on those facing Scandinavia, NATO and the Arctic Ocean. Old bases in the Arctics are re-opened, units are moving in. Meanwhile the Russians also are engaged in joint training with NATO countries, like with Norwegian border guards, to take the heat of things.