Tag: Aircraft

First planes to land at new military airfield in Russia’s Baltic exclave by year-end

Kaliningrad, located between Latvia to the north and Poland to the south

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/.

A new military airfield in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad will be ready to accept first planes of the naval aviation by the end of the year, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

“The new military airfield in the Kaliningrad Region will be ready to accept its first planes by the end of the year, thanks to completion of the phase one of the construction works, carried out as part of a large-scale renovation of the airfield’s facilities,” the ministry said in a statement.

The construction site was inspected by Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, who also inspected the construction of military warehouses in the region.

“While visiting construction sites of military facilities, Timur Ivanov demanded that members of the Defense Ministry’s military construction branch, as well as affiliated organizations and contractors, sped up the pace of the works, as well as the number of workers and special equipment involved,” the ministry said.

He also stressed that the projects must be completed in time and with due quality.



An Incredible Forty Years since the maiden flight of the MiG-29

Bogdan Rudenko/Russian Defense Ministry

On October 6, 1977, the first prototype of the Mikoyan MiG-29 multirole frontline fighter jet took to the skies.

The first prototype of the Mikoyan MiG-29 multirole frontline fighter jet took to the skies forty years ago, on October 6, 1977.

History, designing

The development of fourth-generation fighter jets started in the Soviet Union and in the United States in the late 1960s. As compared to their predecessors, the Soviet MiG-23, the US F-5 Tiger and the French Mirage F.1, the new-generation planes were intended to become multifunctional (i.e. to be able to destroy targets both in the air and on the ground), show increased maneuverability and spend less fuel, feature electric flying controls, new avionics and highly efficient weapons.

In the 1970s, three types of fourth-generation fighters went into service in the United States at once: the light F-16, the heavy F-15 and the deck-based F-14. These planes excelled by a whole number of parameters the second-and third-generation MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-25 aircraft operational in the Soviet Air and Air Defense Forces.

YF-16A prototype over Nevada

Soviet defense specialists and scientists also launched work on developing several classes of fighter jets for accomplishing specific missions. Under this concept, the light fighter was designed for operations over its territory and in the enemy’s immediate rear (up to 150 km). This plane was required to be easy in its piloting control, production and operation. The designers were set the task of furnishing the plane with the most advanced electronic equipment and armament at that time, provide for its high maneuverability and thrust-to-weight ratio.

The design of this fighter, which received its designation, was assigned to the Separate Design Bureau of Moscow’s Zenit Machine-Building Factory (currently, the Mikoyan Design Bureau Engineering Center of the MiG Aircraft Corporation).

In 1976, the concept design was completed and the fighter’s mockup was made. They were approved by the customer (Air Force specialists) in 1977.


The MiG-29 prototype (board No. 901) was made by August 1977. On October 6, 1977, Chief Pilot of the Design Bureau Alexander Fedotov performed the first flight aboard the plane.

Overall, 16 planes were built for trials. Two of them were lost due to problems with engines: one was lost in June 1978 and the other in October 1980. In both cases, the pilots ejected to safety.

The state trials of the MiG-29 fighter were completed on October 27, 1983.

Serial production and combat service

From 1982, the fighter’s serial production was organized at the Moscow Znamya Truda Machine-Building Enterprise while the trials were not yet completed.

In July 1983, the first MiG-29 planes started arriving for the 234th Guards fighter air regiment (Kubinka, Moscow Region).

A Soviet MiG-29 parked after a display flight at the Abbotsford Air Show, 1989

Overall, more than 1,600 MiG-29 planes have been produced and the production of their improved modifications continues today.

The fighter jet was used during combat operations in Afghanistan, in various armed conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in Persian Gulf countries, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the former Yugoslavia, India, Yemen, Sudan and Syria.

According to public information, the Russian Air Force currently operates up to 270 MiG-29 fighters of various modifications. Up to 40 such fighters are operational with the Russian Navy. Specifically, the 100th shipborne fighter air regiment was formed in 2016. It is armed with MiG-29K aircraft, which are intended to be operational on the Russian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.


During the Soviet period, MiG-29 planes were exported to several Warsaw Treaty member countries (East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania), and also to the former Yugoslavia and Iraq. After 1991, MiG-29 fighters were sold not only by Russia but also by former Soviet republics (Ukraine and Moldova). Today, MiG-29 fighters are operational in the Air Force of 25 countries.


The MiG-29 is a fourth-generation multirole frontline supersonic fighter. It is designed under the normal aerodynamic scheme and is a mid-wing aircraft with a trapezoidal mechanized wing. It has a two-keel vertical tail with all-movable stabilizers.

The plane has the so-called “integral arrangement:” the fuselage and the wing form a single bearing body, which provides less drag and greater lift at large angles of attack.

Two RD-33 engines are placed in the nacelles in the fuselage’s tail section. The RD-33 gas turbine engine is a two-shaft, double-circuit motor with an annular combustion chamber, a variable nozzle and a hydraulic electronic control system. The air intakes under the fuselage are closed by special curtains during steering on the ground to prevent debris from getting into the engines.

MiG-29UB of the Swifts aerobatic team

Performance characteristics

  • Crew – 1 person (2 pilots in the combat trainer modification)’
  • Length – 17.32 m;
  • Height – 4.73 m;
  • Wing span – 11.36 m;
  • Maximum speed – 2,450 km/h (2.3 Mach);
  • Engine’s “full afterburner” thrust – 8,300 kgf;
  • Service ceiling – 18,000 m;
  • Practical range at high altitude – 1,430 km (2,100 km with suspended fuel tanks);
  • Maximum takeoff weight – 18.1 t;
  • Maximum combat load weight – 2.18 t.


The aircraft is furnished with a GSh-301 30mm gun (an ammunition load of 150 rounds) and can carry various types of air-to-air missiles (R-27R, R-73 and R-60M), rockets and air bombs at six underwing nodes.

Modified MiG-29 fighters are also capable of using Kh-29, Kh-31 and other air-to-surface missiles.


Over twenty modifications of the MiG-29 fighter have been developed, including the following:

  • MiG-29UB two-seat combat trainer (Item 9-51);
  • Item 9-13 with the increased fuel supply, a new electronic warfare complex and an active jamming system;
  • MiG-29S (9-13S) with an upgraded armament control system and the capability of using R-77 missiles;
  • Deck-based MiG-29K (9-41) and MiG-29 KUB (9-47) fighters;
  • MiG-29M (9-15) – a heavily upgraded version with the flight range increased to 3,200 km;
  • MiG-29SM/SMT (9-14/9-15) with the capability of using air-to-surface precision weapons;
  • MiG-35 – the generation 4++ multifunctional fighter with a new phased antenna array radar, a new engine control system and the reduced cost of its operation.



UK-led international exercise Joint Warrior begins

Albion-class amphibious transport dock (L-15) HMS Bulwark

Warships taking part in the UK-hosted multinational drill Joint Warrior got underway on October 1 for a fortnight of exercises off the coast of Scotland.

This is the second time this year the biannual drill is being held.

The first one took place in March and featured or incorporated Information Warrior, an event aimed at demonstrating and developing information warfare.

The fall edition of the drill will focus on inter-operability development and standard evolutions.

Joint Warrior is designed and led by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) in the United Kingdom.

35 ships and a number of aircraft from 14 nations are set to take part in the drill.

The Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS De Ruyter F804, will be taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior

The Exercise will feature:

  • Thirty-five naval units from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US, supported by 11 rotary wing aircraft.
  • RAF Lossiemouth and HMS Gannet in Prestwick hosting international aircraft from Canada, France, Norway, the UK and US.
  • Cape Wrath Weapons Range in the North of Scotland being used for joint fires activity.

Exercise Joint Warrior will also incorporate elements of another major exercise, the ballistic missile defence drill Formidable Shield, running from September 21 to October 18.


Russian Aerospace Force intercept foreign reconnaissance aircraft 9 times this week

Donat Sorokin/TASS

Fighters of the Russian Aerospace Force over past week nine times took off to intercept foreign reconnaissance aircraft – fewer than a week earlier, the Krasnaya Zverzda (Red Star) newspaper reported on Friday.

A week earlier, the defense authority reported the aircraft were scrambled 14 times to intercept foreign aircraft.

The Defense Ministry’s infographics, published in the newspaper on Friday, shows 58 foreign aircraft conducted air reconnaissance, where 46 were at the western strategic direction, seven – at the Arctic, four – at the eastern and one – at the southern direction.


Russian planes return to bases after Zapad-2017 exercise

MiG-29SMT (МиГ-29СМТ) returning to base

MOSCOW, September 20. /TASS/.

Planes and helicopters of Russia’s Aerospace Force and the Western Military District are returning to their bases after the Zapad-2017 strategic exercise, the Defense Ministry said.

“The crews of tactical and army aircraft of the Aerospace Force and the Western Military District, which participated in the joint strategic exercise Zapad-2017, have begun to return to their permanent locations,” the Defense Ministry said.

The Sukhoi-35S, MiG-31BM, MiG-29SMT, Sukhoi-30SM, Sukhoi-24M, Sukhoi-34 and Sukhoi-25 planes and helicopters Mi-28N, Mi-35, Mi-8 and Ka-52, which were involved in different episodes of the drills, some of them in Belarus, will be back to base within two days.

“The aircrews coped with all of their tasks despite bad weather, including tactical airborne assault, support for ground troops, interception of air targets and strikes against targets on the ground,” the Defense Ministry said.

The joint Russian-Belarussian strategic exercise Zapad-2017 was held in the territory of both countries on September 14-20. Taking part in them were about 12,700 officers and men, (including about 10,200 in Belarus), about 70 planes and helicopters, up to 680 ground vehicles, including 250 tanks, up to 200 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, and ten ships.




Zapad-2017: Large-scale Russia-Belarus military strategic exercise in photos

The main stage of Zapad-2017 military exercises, at Luzhsky range near St. Petersburg. Mikhail Metzel/TASS

The drill involves almost 12,700 servicemen, about 70 planes and helicopters and up to 680 equipment units, including about 250 tanks, almost 200 weapons, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars, as well as 10 ships.

Under the scenario of the exercise small groups of militants had infiltrated into Russia’s territory across the border to have merged into several large units each having a strength of up to 500 men for staging terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage.

Servicemen of a Russian Baltic Fleet unit takes part in Zapad military exercises, at Pravdinsky range. Mikhail Metzel/TASS

They seized a large number of light aircraft and drones at airfields near the border. For this reason air defense artillery systems Pantsir-S1, air defense missiles Strela-1 and other counter-weapons had to be used.

On the ground, the enemy was attacked with support provided by artillery and armored vehicles, including T-90 tanks, the newest tank support vehicles Terminator, front-line bombers Sukhoi-24, fighter-bombers Sukhoi-34 and also Mi-24, Mi-28 and Ka-52 helicopters.

The drill involves almost 12,700 servicemen, about 70 planes and helicopters and up to 680 equipment units, including about 250 tanks, almost 200 weapons, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars, as well as 10 ships. Mikhail Metzel/TASS

The concerted attack against the hypothetical terrorists on the ground was accompanied by an air assault. The intruder forces were sealed off and eliminated.

The strategic exercise Zapad-2017 is the last phase of joint training by the armed forces of the Union State of Russia and Belarus this year.

Observers and military attaches from more than 60 states were invited to one of the central episodes of the Zapad-2017 military drills. Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russia’s air defense artillery systems Pantsir-S1, air defense missiles Strela-1 and other counter-weapons were used. Mikhail Metzel/TASS
The main stage of Zapad-2017, joint Russian and Belarusian military exercises, at Luzhsky range. Mikhail Metzel/TASS
MINSK REGION, BELARUS. A helicopter insertion during Zapad 2017, joint Russian and Belarusian military exercises, at Borisovsky range. Ramil Nasibulin/BelTA/TASS
MINSK REGION, BELARUS. Belarus’ Mil Mi-8 helicopters take part in Zapad 2017, joint Russian and Belarusian military exercises, at Borisovsky range. Ramil Nasibulin/BelTA/TASS







Boeing fires back in response to Trudeau statement, Bombardier jumps in

Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had some of his toughest language yet for Boeing in the ongoing trade dispute that has affected the purchase of Super Hornets as interim fighter jets.

“We have obviously been looking at the Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing as a potential significant procurement of our new fighter jets,” Trudeau said Monday. “”But we won’t do business with a company that’s busy trying to sue us and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business.”

The full story can be read here

Boeing has countered with this statement:

“Boeing is not suing Canada. This is a commercial dispute with Bombardier, which has sold its C Series airplane in the United States at absurdly low prices, in violation of U.S. and global trade laws. Bombardier has sold airplanes in the U.S. for millions of dollars less than it has sold them in Canada, and millions of dollars less than it costs Bombardier to build them.

This is a classic case of dumping, made possible by a major injection of public funds. This violation of trade law is the only issue at stake at the US Department of Commerce.  We like competition.

It makes us better.  And Bombardier can sell its aircraft anywhere in the world.  But competition and sales must respect globally-accepted trade law. We are simply using laws that have been on the books for decades and subjecting them to a fair hearing based on the facts.”

Bombardier added its voice to the debate in a statement on its website entitled, “Boeing’s Hypocrisy.”

“Bombardier shares Boeing’s commitment to a level playing field, but in this case, they were not even on the field.  Delta ordered the C Series because Boeing stopped making an aircraft of the size Delta needed years ago.

It is pure hypocrisy for Boeing to say that the C Series launch pricing is a “violation of global trade law” when Boeing does the same for its new aircraft.

Boeing’s self-serving actions threaten thousands of aerospace jobs around the world, including thousands of U.K. and U.S. jobs and billions of purchases from the many U.K. and U.S. suppliers who build components for the C Series.

The U.S. government should reject Boeing’s attempt to tilt the playing field in its favor and impose an indirect tax on the U.S. flying public through unjustified import tariffs.”


Lithuanian airspace must be respected – defense minister

Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis

Lithuanian airspace must be respected, Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said on Monday after two Russian military aircraft last week entered the country’s territory over its territorial waters.

“Our rights must be respected and our airspace cannot be entered without permission,” he told BNS.

According to the minister, last Saturday’s flight of the Il-76 transport aircraft over the Baltic Sea could be related to the Zapad military exercise underway in Russia and Belarus as equipment or troops could have been aboard the planes.

“Certain mistakes are possible, given the number of troops moving and the high intensity. It can’t be ruled out that it was a mistake, but it can’t be ruled out either that our vigilance was tested this way,” he said.

According to Lithuanian officials, the incident occurred as six Russian IL-76 military aircraft flew from mainland Russia to its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad. Two of the planes deviated from their flight plans, entered Lithuania’s airspace over its territorial waters at 22:50 p.m. and 23:10 p.m. and stayed there for up to 2 minutes before heading on to Kaliningrad.

The defense ministry said that Lithuanian airspace had been violated above the Curonian Spit.

According to Karoblis, NATO fighter-jets were not scrambled to escort the six IL-76 aircraft as the Russian planes flew according to pre-filed plans, maintained contact with air traffic controllers and had their onboard transponders on. US fighter-jets patrolling Baltic airspace from Siauliai did not have enough time to react to the border violation.

The United States in late August deployed seven fighter-jets to the Siauliai air base, three more than normally used for the air policing mission. Four Belgian fighter-jests are also currently deployed in Estonia.

By Saulius Jakucionis.



Northern Coasts 2017: Over 50 vessels underway off Sweden

Norwegian Navy SNMG1 flagship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup (F312)

Over 50 vessels and 20 aircraft were at sea off the coast of Sweden taking part in the international exercise Northern Coasts which started on September 8.

NOCO 2017 is an exercise that focuses on increasing the navies’ ability to operate together during war and crisis management situations.

The exercise runs through September 21 and is based on a fictitious high-intensity conflict scenario, within the framework of an international force with UN mandate.

Countries taking part in the drill include Belgium, Denmark (with command and support ship HDMS Absalon and frigate HDMS Niels Juel, Germany (with frigate FGS Bayern, mine countermeasure ships Pegnitz, Siegburg and Sulzbach-Rosenberg, and tender Elbe, Estonia, Finland (with minelayer Uusimaa), France, Canada, Croatia, Latvia (with minelayer Virsaitis), Lithuania, the Netherlands (with frigates Tromp and Evertsen), Norway (with SNMG1 flagship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup, two Skjold-class corvettes and minesweeper Hinnøy) Poland (with frigate Generał Kazimierz Pułaski and corvette Kaszub), Portugal, Sweden (with patrol ship Carlskrona, stealth-corvettes Karlstad und Härnösund), Spain and the USA.

Polish Navy frigate ORP Generał Kazimierz Pułaski

“The Baltic Sea Region is of major strategic importance for NATO. The region includes six Allied nations and two important NATO partners in addition to Russia,” said Flag Commander Petter Kammerhuber, who leads the NATO Force SNMG1 this fall.

In addition to providing an opportunity for all participants to hone their interoperability, Northern Coasts will test the initial operational capability (IOC) of the Swedish-Finnish Naval Task Group. The two countries spent the past couple years preparing to achieve IOC in 2017.

Now in its tenth edition, the German-organized exercise Northern Coasts has a different host country every year. The previous two editions of the exercise were hosted by Germany in 2015 and Denmark in 2016.


Second stage of Russian-Chinese naval exercise to involve 11 ships, 2 submarines

Chinese Navy (PLAN) Shijiazhuang destroyer

VLADIVOSTOK, September 17. /TASS/.

Russia and China will deploy 11 ships and two submarines to take part in the second stage of their joint naval exercise, Maritime Cooperation-2017, a Pacific Fleet spokesman said on Sunday.

The second stage of the exercise will begin on Monday in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

“The second stage of the international Russian-Chinese Maritime Cooperation-2017 exercise will involve 11 surface ships, two submarines, two deep-submergence rescue vehicles, four anti-suibmarine warfare aircraft and four shipborne helicopters,” spokesman Vladimir Matveyev said.

Russia will send the Admiral Tributs Udaloy-class destroyer, the Sovershenny corvette and the Igor Belousov rescue ship, carrying the AS-40 deep-submergence rescue vehicle and the R-11 missile corvette. In addition, the Pacific Fleet will also be represented by the Sovetskaya Gavan Grisha-class corvette, the Viktor Faleyev hydrographic survey vessel, the MB-93 sea tug and two diesel-electric submarines that were not named.

Russian Pacific Fleet sovershenny Corvette
The four-vessel Chinese task force will be led by the Shijiazhuang destroyer.

“In addition, the naval phase of the exercise will involve the training of ship-aircraft coordination. This element will involve two Il-38 planes, two Tu-142M3 planes, a Ka-27PS and a Ka-27 helicopters of the Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation. The aviation of the Chinese Navy will be represented by Z-9C and Z-9D shipborne helicopters,” Matveyev said.

Harbin Z-9EC ASW “Haitun”, Chinese: 海豚, Chinese Naval Air Arm

The second stage of the Russian-Chinese Maritime Cooperation-2017 exercise will take place between September 18 and 26 and will consist of the coastal and the naval phases. The coastal phase will be held in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on September 18-21. The naval part is scheduled for September 22-26 in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

The first stage of the Russian-Chinese naval exercises ‘Maritime Cooperation-2017’ was held from July 21 to July 28 in Baltiysk, the coastal city in Russia’s westernmost Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. Russia’s new generation Project 20380 corvettes – the Steregushchy and the Boiky – as well as a rescue tug, the Ka-27 multi-purpose shipborne helicopters, the Su-24 tactical bomber and the An-26 military transport aircraft took part in the drills.China sent the Hefei destroyer, the Yuncheng frigate and the Luoma Lake supply ship to the drills.




Sweden’s “biggest drill in decades” coincides with Russia’s Zapad 2017

Saab JAS 39 Gripens

The Swedish Armed Forces kicked off Aurora 17 today, the international exercise has been dubbed as Sweden’s “biggest drill in decades”.

While Sweden itself is not a member of NATO, over 20,000 troops from the country and other NATO members, including the US, are set to participate in the three-week exercise. Naval, air and land services will be taking part in the drill.

The exercise coincides with the start of the major Russian drill Zapad 2017 this week. The week-long exercise will include Russian and Belarusian military forces and will take place in Russia’s Kaliningrad district and across Belarus.

A CB-90 Fast-Attack Patrol class in the foreground with a Visby-class Corvette in the background

Taking place along the borders of NATO member states, Zapad has caused greater concern for the West given Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sweden’s defense minister Peter Hultqvist told Financial Times the drill reflected Sweden’s new military strategy which is a consequence of Russian actions, adding that Sweden plans more drills in the future.

Concurrently with Aurora 17, Sweden is hosting a total of 16 countries for the 2017 edition of the German Navy-sponsored exercise Northern Coasts 2017.

The international exercise is taking place between September 8 and 21 off Gotland and in the Southern Baltic Sea.

A Swedish combat team from an armored regiment arrives on the island of Gotland. (Photo: Soren Andersson)

A general goal of the drill is to develop skills in maritime surveillance, anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine and mine counter-measures. At a tactical stage, a fictitious but realistic scenario will see participants respond to a multinational crisis in maritime areas.