Russia’s newest military helicopter unit has gone through its final testing phase to be officially “combat ready”. Equipped with the Ka-52 Alligator, the Mi-28N Night Hunter and the Mi-35M Hind the military attack helicopter squadron of the Southern Military District underwent its flight-tactical exercise near Kuban in the Krasnodar District.
The unit’s Ka-52s arrived late 2016 to reinforce Mil choppers and get a total combat strength of 20 rotary wing, plus reserves. Flown by 60 pilots and navigators combined, and supported by 150 ground crew and other personnel, the full squadron embarked on relocation exercises, tactical airborne assaults in mountainous areas as well as attack of armoured and soft targets using the onboard guns and missile systems.
The Russian Ministry of Defence is not elaborating too much on details other then saying 60 unguided missiles were fired on 20 different kind of targets.
Russian War games
Also at other locations in Russia, attack helicopter units are engaged in war games. An army aviation brigade in the Pskov region (Western Military District) was brought to the highest state of alert, flying 30 sorties a day for four days in row with its Ka-52 and Mil Mi-8AMTSH helicopters.
It is believed that in the case of an armed conflict Russia will be able to quickly attack and control large areas – for example cities like Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius or parts of Kiev – by flying its very mobile assault helicopter units in from forward operating locations in Russia or Belarus, supported by Russian Air Force combat fighter jets and jamming capability.
Ignore Russia took control of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 for a few moments, ignore the ongoing fights in Ukraine’s eastern areas with Russian troop, intelligence and command & control involvement. The Russian military is still building its logistic strength on the legacy from the country it has been trying to destabilize for years. For its short-haul fixed-wing flights.
Designed and originally made by Antonov in Ukrainian Kiev, the new Antonov AN-140-100 turboprop aircraft is still finding its way to units of the Russian armed forces, be it in small numbers. The latest passenger and cargo aircraft of the type went to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, on 14 February this year.
How many officially are in service is hard to say. Moscow planned to have at least 20 operational, but after the conflict with Ukraine resulted in an industrial break-up between Antonov and the Russian partners, the air frames already in Russia are planned to be finished with solely Russian equipment. As far as our sources go, we estimate the number of operational AN-140-100s within the Russian armed forces to be between 8 and 14, but Moscow wishes for more. Russian Aviacor is believed to deliver at least six of the machines it had on its premises in various stages of unfinished construction.
The AN-140-100 is able to transport up to 52 people or about 19,000 lbs (about 8,500) of cargo (including fuel weight) over 2,290 miles (3,700 km) of distance. It can operate from unpaved airstrips, which makes it an ideal aircraft to operate in island rich environments where unprepared or short airstrips are common.
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.
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.
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.
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.