The Russian Northern Fleet is sending five inexperienced pilots without carrier qualification together with regular staff to the Crimea. For decades the peninsula was part of Ukraine, but Russia annexed it with military force in February/March 2014. Flying out of former Ukrainian Saky Naval Aviation Base the cadets will prepare for their deployment on board the sole Russian Navy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, according to a Northern Fleet’s press statement.
Over the course of several weeks Northern Fleet cadets and more senior flight crews will operate three Sukhoi Su-33 (“Flanker”) carrier-borne jets and three Sukhoi Su-25UTG (“Frogfoot”). The Su-25UTGs are especially adapted to train pilots in carrier operations, while using land-based simulated set-ups. A maximum number of 10 of the UTG versions are reportedly still in use with the Russian Navy.
The Northern Fleet plans to have its training deployment of a total of 70 personnel including ground crew make a total of 10 flights daily and perform practice runs on the NITKA carrier simulation range on the Crimea. No real deck landings are planned to be executed.
Although Russian forces did have an agreement with Kiev earlier to operate from Saky Naval Base and the NITKA range but the deal ended even before the Russian take-over of the Crimean facilities started. Last year a Ka-27, three Mi-14s, two AN-26s and one Beriev Be-12 of the Ukrainian Naval Aviation were seen fleeing the place under pressure, as caught on video somewhat down in our extensive Overview: Air Forces of Ukraine.
Ukraine is trying to improve the self-defence capabilities of its Mi-24 (“Hind”) and Mi-8 (“Hip”) helicopters. Specialists of the State Scientific Testing Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with business partner MS Avia-Hreyd have field tested the new Adros KUV 26-50 decoy system on a Mi-24P helicopter, the Ukrainian MInistry of Defence confirmed on 24 June 2014.
The new system was tested during five flights lasting a total of two hours. The indigenous designed self-protection system is meant to make the Ukrainian military independent from foreign suppliers, such as former friend and new enemy Russia. Once successful Ukraine aimes to implement the Adros on not only its Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters flown by the Army, but also by the Antonov AN-26 tactical airlifters of the Air Force.
During the conflict with the pro-Russian rebel and regular Russian military forces in the eastern part of the country, the Ukraine military lost many aircraft and helicopters last year due to ground-launched and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The new decoy system is a small hope of improving the situation on the war front, so that the aviation components of the Ukrainian military can be used more effectively with less loss of aircraft and crew.
Saudi Arabia will start production of its own version of the Antonov AN-32 cargo aircraft / military airlifter, called the AN-132, both for military and civilian purposes. Sources in Kiev and Riyadh confirmed that a deal has been made.
Ukrainian Antonov will transfer the necessary technology and design property rights to the Kingdom, where Taqnia Aeronautics and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology will jointly produce the AN-132 from 2017 or 2018 on and forward.
Compared to Antonov’s own AN-32 the Taqnia/KACST AN-132 will feature Pratt & Whitney Canada aircraft engines, a Honeywell navigation suite and several other Western made avionics and components. Antonov is likely to send Ukrainian specialists to Saudi Arabia until the Kingdom is up to speed with things.
Some sources say during the first year of full production eight to twelve aircraft are planned, but we at Airheadsfly.com consider it quite likely that Taqnia/KACST will put together one to three prototypes first.
In Ukraine, the new Antonov An-178 medium transport aircraft took flight for the first time on Thursday 7 May. The aircraft only saw its roll out three weeks ago. The An-178 is meant to take the place of the old An-12.
The first flight lasted one hour. The flight crew consisted of Antonov test pilots Andrii Spasibo, Sergii Troshyn and test engineer Mykola Sydorenko. After landing in Kiev Gostomel airport, the crew reported the flight was a success.
The An-178 is not purely an Antonov affair. The aircraft was designed and produced in cooperation with partner companies in 15 countries, Antonov states.
Nowadays, any good news from Ukraine is news. One example of good news was the roll out ceremony of the very first Antonov An-178 transport aircraft on Thursday 16 April in Kiev.
The Antonov An-178 is an 118 tonnes payload, short to medium range military cargo aircraft that should be able to operate from just about anywhere. According to the Ukrainian aircraft designer and manufacturer, the AN-178 is meant to replace the An-12 in the transport role.