Feb 19, 2021
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School of Russian aces

The pilots of the 968th mixed air regiment stationed in Lipetsk have worked out the performance of combat training missions in conditions of low visibility and gusty winds. This was announced to RT by the acting head of the flight management group of this formation, Major Sergei Gorovik. Lipetsk Aviation Center, which includes the 968th regiment, is considered one of the best schools for training combat pilots in Russia. Its graduates master the techniques of air combat, control of various types of aircraft, the skills of refueling in the air and actions as part of the units. According to experts, the activities of the Lipetsk Aviation Center ensure the continuous improvement of the skills of the officers of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The personnel of the 968th mixed air regiment (Lipetsk) completed combat training missions over the Voronezh region in difficult weather conditions and in the dark. This was announced to RT by the acting head of the flight management group of this formation, Major Sergei Gorovik.

“Much depends on the weather, but despite the difficult meteorological conditions (low cloudiness, gusty wind, frost. – RT), the crews successfully completed their assigned tasks at altitudes from 400 to 4000 m. This is an indicator of their skill and modernity of the equipment used, which demonstrates high flight and combat capabilities, ”Gorovik said.

Crews of multipurpose aircraft Su-35S and Su-30SM, fighter-bombers Su-34, light modernized fighters MiG-29 and attack aircraft Su-25SM took part in the training held in Lipetsk. The flights were attended by graduates of the Krasnodar Flight School and experienced pilots.

“The engineering staff did a great job in the cold winter conditions. It was also a difficult test for him. Neither strong low temperatures nor cold wind prevented our specialists from preparing the aircraft for training, ”Gorovik explained.

According to the interlocutor of RT, as a rule, flights in winter are limited by poor visibility, snowfall, blizzards, the need for constant treatment with reagents of the runway and checking aircraft for icing.

From young pilots to the Falcons of Russia

The 968th regiment stationed in Lipetsk is part of the State Center for the Training of Aviation Personnel and Military Tests of the RF Ministry of Defense. The organization is engaged in methodological support of operational-tactical aviation of the Aerospace Forces and training officers in the skills of controlling various types of combat aircraft.

The Center also specializes in research activities, which allows to determine the capabilities of new and modernized aircraft. In particular, pilots continue to study the maneuverable and shock characteristics of the Su-35 and Su-34.

According to Horovik, in the process of military tests, the Center’s specialists found that the on-board equipment and weapons of these aircraft allow them to perform combat missions at any time of the day, regardless of the season and weather.

“In fact, there is no significant difference between the training of flight personnel in the cold and warm seasons. If the unit commander has set the task to carry out bombing at a certain range, then it is performed. This allows us to speak about the high quality and reliability of modern Russian aircraft, ”Gorovik emphasized.

The most difficult element of training flight personnel, as officers of the Lipetsk center told RT, is refueling in the air with a giant Il-78 tanker. This technique is performed at a speed of 600-650 km / h, which must be maintained for a long time.

From the pilot it is required practically jewelry skill to dock the aircraft boom to the end of the hose cone, through which aviation kerosene will flow from the tanker. At the time of refueling, the pilot must be able to resist the effects of air masses and cope with the so-called turbulence.

Also, the simultaneous refueling of two aircraft in the air is associated with great difficulties. The crews of combat vehicles are required to maintain a distance of about 20 m between themselves on one horizontal plane.

Group gathering is another important episode of preparation, on which the Lipetsk Center specialists emphasize. This skill allows Russian pilots to act effectively as part of the flights: to keep the formation, keeping a safe distance, and synchronously perform aerobatics.

To practice group flight, the VKS officers are engaged in the development of an eye and a detailed analysis of tactical techniques with miniature aircraft models. In addition, before training in the air, pilots try to learn to intuitively understand each other, which is impossible without strong companionship.

According to Govorkin, the group “Falcons of Russia”, commanded by Colonel Alexander Gostev, is doing an excellent job with this task. Previously, he gained fame for his ability to perform such complex elements as a loop with a turn, a pillar, a bell, a flat corkscrew, a pass at minimum speed, a shell and rotation on a course at extreme angles of attack.

A separate area of ​​the airfield of the 968th regiment and a special sector of the airspace, where the elements of aerobatics and air combat techniques are practiced, are allocated for the training of the Falcons of Russia.

The Falcons of Russia have existed since 1993 and are now equipped with Su-35S aircraft. The group’s activities are aimed at demonstrating the strike and maneuverability of Russian aviation. Most often, the aces show viewers of Russian and international shows defensive and offensive techniques of close air combat.

“The complexity and risk of this program (Falcons of Russia. – RT) lies in the maneuvering of combat fighters at low altitudes (up to 200 m), in a confined space (directly above the display area) and at high speeds (500-800 km / h) “, – explained in the materials of the RF Ministry of Defense.

Complex maneuvers

According to experts, Lipetsk specialists are known as masters of close air combat and pioneers in the field of setting new tactical tasks. Despite the emergence of long-range air-to-air missiles in the arsenal of Russia, NATO member countries and other states, the relevance of maneuvers at short and medium distances has not gone anywhere, analysts say.

The importance of close combat skills is explained by the rapid development of electronic warfare (EW) means, which to a large extent neutralize the risk of aircraft being hit by missile weapons.

As the honored pilot of Russia Vladimir Popov said in an interview with RT, a modern pilot should be perfectly able to use an automatic cannon, which is installed on all machines of the operational-tactical aviation of the Aerospace Forces for self-defense and attacking the enemy in close combat.

“All these areas of activity are the main ones for the Lipetsk center, because only by undergoing training in this center, aviation pilots get the opportunity to perform a full range of combat missions that are assigned to them. To do this, they take appropriate theoretical courses and perform training flights, ”Popov said.

According to the expert, the Lipetsk Center pays great attention to the development of orientation skills on the terrain, especially in winter, when the ground surface is covered with a continuous snow cover. As a result, the pilot may lose the ability to adequately assess his position.

“The range and contrast of visibility in winter are sharply reduced, as a result, the information component is significantly reduced. After all, the pilot pilots not only by instruments, but also visually, focusing on the horizon line. Feeling it, you can make better maneuvers. In Lipetsk, pilots are helped to cope with such problems, ”Popov says.

In a commentary on RT, military observer, aviation expert Dmitry Drozdenko noted that, due to the specifics, some of the most highly qualified personnel of the Aerospace Forces serve in the Lipetsk Aviation Center. According to the expert, the pilots of the “Falcons of Russia” group convey a lot of experience to the officers.

“Aerobatic teams are not just pilots putting on shows. They practice complex maneuvers and make a significant contribution to improving piloting techniques. All this knowledge, a huge number of nuances are transferred to other pilots and, as a rule, find practical application, “Drozdenko summed up.

Alexey Zakvasin, Elizaveta Komarova

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