Combat experience, including Syrian experience, will be used in the modernization of aircraft of the Russian Distant Air Force, Sergey Kobylash, commander of the Distant Aviation, Hero of Russia, said an interview with the Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (Independent Military Review) newspaper.
"Naturally, any best practices, including Syrian ones, developments and the latest technical achievements will be used in modernization. The range of tasks that the Distant Air Force solves is very wide, but we do not stand still. In the framework of combat training we are constantly working on improvement of the existing ones and development of new methods of application of long-range aviation," he said.
Kobylash stressed that given the opportunities that are opening up, all assigned and future tasks will be solved much better, faster and more accurately.
"The modernization program includes a lot of innovations designed to increase the combat potential of the aircraft and the effectiveness of the complexes as a whole. We are replacing equipment and whole systems with modern ones and are laying the groundwork for advanced armament and new engines. All this will allow the effective use of verified and very reliable equipment until introduction of new generation aviation systems," the commander of the long-range aviation noted.
According to Kobylash, plans to upgrade the fleet of training aircraft are also already being implemented. "For example, the Krasnodar Flight School received new DA-42 training aircraft, which are equipped with modern equipment and information display facilities, which will allow graduates to master the upgraded equipment faster," he said.
Reach of targets in the Mediterranean Sea
Kobylash said the landing and operation of long-range Tu-22M3 bombers at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria confirmed the parameters of target reach of these aircraft across the Mediterranean Sea.
"The landing and operation of Tu-22M3 aircraft at the Khmeimim airbase is, of course, a landmark event in its own way. First, the crews of long-range aviation mastered the new airfield and marked the presence of long-range aviation in the Mediterranean region. Second, unique experience in interaction with the Navy in search for marine objects in realistic conditions was gained and parameters of target reach of Tu-22M3 aircraft in the entire water area of the Mediterranean Sea were confirmed," he said.
Kobylash emphasized that such an operation differs significantly from a friendly visit to other countries. "Conducting combat operations on the territory of Syria imposes a significant imprint on preparations: this includes ensuring flight safety in the air, protection and defense of aircraft on the ground, coordination of numerous issues of interaction with all interested parties and, of course, certain risks in the ongoing conflict zone, as well as increased interest on the part of other countries," he said.
According to the commander, the intensity of flights has increased significantly recently, and the geography has expanded considerably. Thanks to this, most of the flight and engineering personnel of the Russian Distant Air Force now have combat experience.
"We are now flying more and further. Performed missions with landings at airfields of foreign countries such as Indonesia, Venezuela, South Africa, Nicaragua, and Syria. Distant aviation is constantly expanding its areas of presence. In 2021, it carried out flights in the waters of the Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea, North Sea, South China Sea, Japan Sea, Baltic Sea and Black Sea and flights under the plan of joint exercises with the armed forces of the Collective Security Treaty," he recalled.
In addition, in 2021 joint air patrol flights with the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army of China werecarried out. All the flights were carried out in accordance with the plans of preparation and expansion of military cooperation.
In May 2021, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that three Tu-22M3 bombers arrived at the Russian airbase Khmeimim for the first time and made training flights over the Mediterranean Sea. The military stressed that the pilots gained practical skills in carrying out missions in new geographic areas. Military experts expressed the opinion of TASS that the flight of Russian Tu-22M3s to the Khmeimim airfield shows foreign partners the capabilities of the Russian group and that basing these aircraft in Syria will increase its potential.
GSV "Russia - Islamic world"
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Based on materials from TASS