Tag Archives: Russia

Russian Tu-22M Backfires based in Iran

Russia this week officially confirmed it has based Tu-22M Backfire bombers at Hamedan airbase in Iran for strike missions over Syria. Pictures show several Backfires being prepared on the ground in surroundings resembling those of the Iranian desert.

Backfires have seen use over Syria a number of times already, supporting forces loyal to president Assad in their fight against rebel forces. A number of videos showed up of the Backfires apparently ‘carpet’ bombing rebel positions, which raises fear of even more civilian casualties in war torn Syria.

Previously, the bombers flew all the way from Russia for missions over the area. Basing the aircraft in Iran allows for much shorter missions.

The basing of the bombers also means Moscow is getting a stronger foothold in the area, which wil be reinforced when the sole Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov supposedly arrives in the Mediterranean this Fall. The ship should bring Ka-52 attack helicopters in theater,m according to sources in Moscow.

The movements are also concerning in light of the flickering conflict in South East Ukraine, where Russian and Ukranian weapons and personnel are facing each other. Russia’s latest movement could be seen as a way to shield off the entire Black Sea from any Western militaries taking an interest in the Ukrainian situation.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

A pair of Russian Kamom Ka-52 Alligators (Image © Russian Helicopters)
A pair of Russian Kamom Ka-52 Alligators (Image © Russian Helicopters)

150 Yak-152 trainers for Russian armed forces

The Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed it has ordered 150 new Yakovlev Yak-152 advanced primary trainers early this month.

The new machine desigend by Yakovlev is produced by Irkut, where the first three aircraft are currently being pieced together (see image published by RIA Novosti here). The highly maneouvrable aicraft is said to be able to sustain G-loads up to +9 or -7, although with a crew of two it will be one G less, both positive and negative. The Yak-152 has been designed to be easily recoverable even when mishandled during flight and is not only to teach future pilots basic and advanced skills, but aerobatic and normal combat maneouvres as well.


Aided by multi-functional LCDs, with a triple redundancy of flight and navigation equipment and a flight information and performance data recorder the Yak-152 does lack a pressurized cockpit. IT can take off from both hardened as well as soft air strips, with a take-off run as short as about 705 feet (concrete) to 780 feet (grass/ground). For landing it needs 1260 feet (concrete) or 1125 feet (grass/ground).


The new trainer will be able to fly at standard speeds up to 189 knots (350 km/h), but is able to sustain as much as 269 knots (500 km/h) and its has a sustained climb rate of 30 feet/sec. Its service ceiling is 12,000 feet and the maximum flight range is 930 miles (1,500 km). The projected service life is 30,000 landings, or 10,000 flight hours. To reduce costs the Yak-152 is powered by a diesel, rather than a kerosine, engine.

Test planes

Irkut plans to have two test planes flying, with another two to be used for ground and airframe tests. The first production aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Russian armed forces in 2017, where they will likely replace older Yak-52s of which about 300 are operational.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Computer rendering of the Yak-152 (Image © Irkut)

Roll-out newest Russian airliner of the future

Russia’s future airliner made its first public appearance on 8 June 2016, when the first MC-21-300 was presented at the Ikrutsk Aviation Plant.

Under the watchful eye of scores of dignitaries – including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – the first MC-21 version with a full standard avionics cockpit showed itself. The aircraft will now be used for flight and airframe tests.

The Magistralny Samolyot 21 (MS-21), Russian for Carbon Fibre plane, is a joint effort of big names of the Russian aviation industry – Irkut, Mikoyan, Yakovlev, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev and Beriev – will be Moscow’s answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft will be launched in three different versions: the MS-21-200 for 150 passengers, the MS-21-300 accommodates up to 180 passengers and the MS-21-400 will have a seating arrangement for max. 212 passengers. Russia intends to replace all Yakovlev Yak-42s and the Tupolev Tu-154s and Tu-134s by the new aircraft, starting in 2017.

The first delivery is planned for 2017. The Irkut production company confirmed to have 175 firm orders for the aircraft MS-21, written as MC-21 in English, with a projected production rate of seven aircraft a month. The Russian Ministry of Defence plans to militarize the aircraft.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Roll-out of the first Irkut MC-21-300 (MS-21), the future Russian airliner, on 8 June 2016 (Image © Irkut)

M-55: the spy who loves Sweden

It sounds like your typical James Bond Cold War era movie: under the cover of international research a Russian aircraft is secretly being used to spy on military bases and weapons tests. Welcome to Sweden in the year 2016, as the following story evolves.

Star of the show is the Myasishchev M-55, or the “U-2 spyplane” of the Soviet Union. Currently the only high altitude geophysical research aircraft the twin-boom jet its latest mission may have been more worth its NATO reporting name Mystic-B, then of its current additional name Geophysica.

Kiruna Airport

From 1996 the Russian aircraft has been employed for measurement campaigns funded by the European Union. For another such stratospheric mission for the earth’s climate research – ran by the Stratoclim project, the M-55 touched down on Kiruna Airport in the Swedish Far North on 15 April, just when the diplomatic okay for its being in Swedish airspace ended. If Swedish sources are correct, the Russian embassy had a hand into the late arrival, proposed flight pattern during the research and pressed for a late departure.

Leaving a cloud of snow behind (Image © Louise Levin / Försvarsmakten)
According to some sources, the Russian really wanted to see new-styled Gripen ops like this one up close. Image taken during an exercise on Vidsel Air Station in March 2016 (Image © Louise Levin / Försvarsmakten)

Swedish armed forces tests

The Swedish quality newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) writes that Russian planners deliberately wanted the plane to be up just when the Swedish armed forces ran two important exercises: another new fighter jet dispersal test like the one at Airheadsfly.com wrote about, as well as a weapons launch from the “Edwards” of Sweden: Vidsel Air Station and the nearby ranges.

High altitude departure

There is controversy on why the plane was grounded much longer than planned. The Russian embassy apparently noted technical issues, while the Swedish Ministry of Defence suspects spy plans. If there was a real problem with either the plane or the crew’s intentions is uncertain, but it left Sweden on 21 April on a high altitude of about 58,000 feet – apparently with everything technically working as planned.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Myasishchev M-55 Geophysica (Image © Rob Schleiffert)

Russia orders trainer version of Mi-28 Havoc attack helo

Russia has ordered a new trainer version of the known Mi-28 Havoc attach helicopter. The first of a batch of Mi-28UB trainer versions are to be delivered in 2018, according to an agreement signed in Moscow by the ministry and Russian Helicopters.

The Mi-28UB features dual controls, providing both crew members with the ability to fly the helicopter . The new version also brings improved ergonomics and should support pilots in maximizing the  full combat potential of the Havoc.

At the same time, Russia also ordered additional Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Mi-28 Havoc. (Image © Russian Ministry of Defense)