Tag: Helicopters

Russian Aerospace Force to get over hundred aircraft in 2017

Russian Sukhoi Su-35S Multi-role Heavy Fighter

Russia’s Aerospace Force will get over 70 aircraft and helicopters, as well as more than 40 air defense missile systems until the end of this year, Aerospace Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Viktor Bondarev told Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Friday.

“Over 70 aircraft, more than 40 air defense missile systems and about 70 radar stations will arrive for Aerospace Force units until the end of the year,” he said.

Russia’s Aerospace Force has already received about 50 new aircraft this year: Sukhoi Su-34, Su-35S, Su-30SM, Yak-130 planes, Kamov Ka-52 combat helicopters, Mil Mi-8 AMTSh and Mi-8MTV-5-1 military transport helicopters and also over 20 standby and alert radar stations, the commander said.

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Multi-role Attack Aircraft

“Besides, the industry is finalizing and delivering satellites, military carrier rockets and radars characterized by the high degree of their readiness for ensuring a closed field of missile attack warning.

Let me note that special attention during the planning of the Aerospace Force’s hardware upgrade was paid to constant alert units and formations where armament and military hardware had considerably used up their potential,” Bondarev said.






Marine drills involving over 2,000 troops take place in Russia’s West

Vladimir Rodionov/TASS

KALININGRAD, August 10. /TASS/. More than 2,000 marine troops participated in tactical drills involving a marine brigade and the 11th Army Corps of the Russian Baltic Fleet, which were held at the Khmelyovka training range in the Kaliningrad region, Fleet Spokesman Roman Martov told TASS.

“The drills were aimed at training the skills of seizing coastal areas and driving the enemy forces out of them,” he said. According to the fleet spokesman, the exercises involved more than 2,000 troops, as well as over 100 pieces of military hardware, including 20 warships, boats and supply vessels, 12 planes and helicopters from the Baltic Fleet’s naval aircraft units.”

The Russian Federation enclave of Kaliningrad

Besides, tanks, the Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers, Grad multiple launch rocket systems and Shilka self-propelled antiaircraft guns, as well as other military hardware, was also used during the marine drills. At the same time, the Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft and Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters performed missile attacks on the simulated enemy’s positions. A Mil Mi-8 transport helicopters delivered a marine assault group to the drills site, while an air assault group arrived in an Antonov An-26 transport aircraft.

Baltic Fleet Su-24M/MRs from the 4th Independent Naval Assault Aviation Regiment – Chernyakhovsk Air Base contribute to the amphibious landings.

“During the exercises, ships carrying marine assault groups trained to suppress the simulated enemy’s coastal strongpoints and honed the tactics of military activities behind enemy’s lines, which particularly involve marine assault groups.

To create an environment close to that of an actual military operation, more than five tonnes of various simulated munitions were used.





Chinese task group bound for Finland after Baltic Sea drills with Russia

Chinese warships are photographed from Norwegian Navy frigate and Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 flagship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup in the Baltic Sea. Photo: Captain (army) Rune Haarstad.

After concluding their drills with the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea, ships from the Chinese Navy’s task group are scheduled to visit Finland for a regularly scheduled port call.

Three Chinese warships, Type 052D destroyer Hefei (DDG-174), Type 054A frigate Yuncheng (571) and Type 903 replenishment ship Luomahu (964), are currently taking part in the Maritime Cooperation 2017 exercise.

The exercise, which started July 21 and is set to conclude on July 28, is taking place under close watch of NATO SNMG1 ships.

The Russian Navy is participating with Project 20380 corvettes Steregushchiy and Boikiy, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

According to an announcement by the Finnish defense forces, the Chinese task group is expected to arrive in Finland on August 1 for a four-day visit. The ship will berth at Katajanokka, Port of Helsinki, where they will host an open ship event on August 2.

A navy spokesperson said the visit was a routine port call with no exercises or other activities planned.


Russian-Chinese naval drills in Baltic Sea to enter active phase

Russian-Chinese naval exercise Joint Sea-2017 in the Baltic Sea will enter into the active stage on Tuesday, the Baltic Fleet’s spokesman Roman Martov told TASS.

Russian and Chinese ships participating in the drills are leaving the Baltiysk base for designated areas in the Baltic Sea, he said. On Tuesday the personnel will practice artillery fire at surface and air targets.

China delegated three ships for participation in the exercise – the destroyer Hefei, frigate Yuncheng and supply vessel Lomahu.

Chinese Type 052D Missile Destroyer Hefei conducts live fire drills with its Type HPJ38-130 mm naval gun.

The Russian Navy is represented by two corvettes – Steregushchy and Boiky – and the salvage tug SB-123. Different phases of the exercise will involve multi-role deck helicopters Ka-27, tactical frontline bombers Sukhoi-24, military transport planes Antonov-26 and helicopters based on the Chinese ships.

During the active phase of the exercise to be held on July 25-27 Russian and Chinese sailors will practice joint anti-sabotage, anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense measures and assistance to a ship in distress.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.



BALTOPS 17 Roundup:

What A Modern Beach Landing Operation In The Baltic Region Would Look Like:

BALTOPS 2017 was the largest military exercise organized in the Baltic region this year. The operation was held by the STRIKFORNATO (SFN) command, with Poland acting as the host nation.

More than 40 vessels have entered the ports of Stettin and Świnoujście on Jun. 1, with some of them being accessible to the visitors. Three days later, the aforesaid units sailed out, where the sailors perfected their interoperational abilities.

The whole operation ended up on Jun. 18, in Germany. The BALTOPS has taken place regularly, in the Baltic Sea region, since 1972. Initially, the operation only involved the NATO forces; beginning in 1993, members of the former Warsaw Pact were also invited to participate, Poland being no exception in that regard.

Since 1993 BALTOPS has become a part of the Partnership for Peace program. Currently the operation has a multinational profile and places a particular emphasis on training in the areas of gunnery, replenishment at sea, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), radar tracking & interception, mine countermeasures, seamanship, search and rescue, maritime interdiction operations and scenarios dealing with potential real world crises and maritime security.

AAV-7 (LVTP-7) Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle.
Polish Marines dismount from a BMP-1.

This year, the operation involved forces from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the United States (here we are also referring to the vessels of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1).

The Polish Navy was involved in the BALTOPS operation for the 27th time this year. The main naval component of the Polish Navy detached to take part in the operation included five minesweepers (ORP Dąbie, ORP Mielno, ORP Wicko, ORP Mamry, ORP Wdzydze), Lublin-class minelayer-landing ships: ORP Gniezno and ORP Kraków; and a submarine, ORP Bielik.

Polish Navy Landing Ship ORP Gniezno 822.

The whole operation was staged in the Baltic Sea area, within the naval training ranges of the Polish Navy, as well as within the naval and land portion of the Central Air Force Training Range, also located in the coastal region of Ustka.

On Wednesday, Jun. 14 the beach in Ustka became an arena, within which one of the most important portions of the exercise took place – a landing operation carried out by the task force group involved in the event. The main forces landing on the Polish beach included the 1st Battalion of the 23rd US Marines regiment, utilizing AAV-7 amphibious carriers and LCAC hovercraft. The whole operation was supported by 8 vessels, including two Polish minelayer-landing ships hailing from the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla.

Nonetheless, the landing operation would not have been complete without involvement of the coalition’s air assets. The landing was preceded by a CAS (Close Air Support) simulation involving the USAF B-52 and B-1B bombers, two Polish F-16 jets, German Eurofighter Typhoons, as well as V-22 Osprey. Notably, due to the humid air over the Polish coast, clouds of condensation and vapor cones have been clearly visible on the surfaces of the participating aircraft.

Siły Powietrzne F-16C Block 52+

The red force simulation has been provided by a mechanized company of the Polish 7th Coastal Defense Brigade.

The whole operation was supervised by the commander of the 6th Fleet and STRIKFORNATO, Vice-Admiral Christopher Grady, along with Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral P. A. McAlpine. Poland was represented by the Deputy General Commander of the Armed Forces, Division General Jan Śliwka, and by Rear Admiral Jarosław Ziemiański – Deputy Inspector of the Navy, along with Brig. General Wojciech Grabowski.

Source: The Aviationist.

China-Russia naval exercise begins in Baltic Sea

China and Russia have started their large-scale naval drills dubbed “Joint Sea 2017” in the Baltic Sea. The exercises will involve jets, helicopters and vessels.

The Chinese Navy is represented by one of its most advanced missile destroyers, the Hefei, as well as missile frigate Yuncheng and the Luomahu supply ship. CGTN’s Daria Bondarchuk reported the two countries want to increase cooperation and efficiency in protecting security at sea.

An opening ceremony of China-Russia naval exercise is held in Russia’s Baltic city, on July 22, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Sun Juan]
According to the report, the naval forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army arrived in Russia on Friday. A welcoming ceremony was held in Baltiysk in northern Russia. The Chinese and the Russian navies are set to hold a series of drills as part of the “Joint Sea 2017” exercise program. A dozen vessels of different classes, as well as some 10 aircraft and helicopters from both sides are scheduled to take part in the first leg of the drills throughout next week.

The Joint Sea naval exercises were held for the first time in 2012. This year they will stretch into autumn. In September the second phase of the navy drills will begin in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

Source: China.org.cn


UPDATE: Russia-Belarus strategic military drills to involve over 10,000 troops

Over *10,000 Russian and Belarusian troops will take part in the joint strategic drills dubbed Zapad-2017 (West-2017), Belarus’ Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Andrei Ravkov told TASS on Monday.

“Up to 12,700 servicemen are planned to be involved in the drills. About 10,200 troops will be involved on the territory of our country, including 7,200 servicemen from the Belarusian Armed Forces and about 3,000 from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” he said.

According to the general, up to 680 pieces of military hardware will be used in the drills.

The Zapad-2017 joint strategic drills are of planned nature and will be held by decision of the presidents of both countries, the general stressed.

 “The military exercise is the demonstration of our continuity in ensuring the security of both fraternal peoples,” he said.

As the Belarusian defense minister said, “this exercise is not a response to the buildup of NATO’s military component near the borders of our states, although these actions cause natural concern of the leadership of the Union State.”

As the defense minister explained, during the drills the militaries of both countries will practice “improving the inter-operability of headquarters at various levels and linking the advanced systems of troops and armament command and control.”

“It is important to test the provisions of new statutory regulations developed in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus,” Ravkov said, noting that it was also necessary for the senior command, commanders and headquarters to get the practice of planning military measures for stabilization and troops’ command and control.

Practical exercises for the bodies of military governance and troops will be held in Belarus at the Lepel, Borisov, Losvido and Osipovichi training ranges, the Ruzhansky and Domanovsky Air Force and Air Defense Force practice grounds and also on the terrain near the community of Dretun, the general said.

“As for the scope of the exercise, this is the largest event of the joint operational training of the Armed Forces from both countries,” the general said.
On the eve of the Russia-Belarus strategic drills, about 40 joint operational and combat training events have been held, including special exercises by the type of logistic support, the Belarusian defense minister said.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.

*Editors Note: According to Janes, the figure of 10,000 troops taking part in Zapad-17 has been grossly underestimated. The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after a 13 July meeting in Brussels of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). “They provided information on the total number of forces, planes, and ships [planned for ‘Zapad 2017’] and, separately, for troops from Belarus,”.




Baltic Fleet helicopters destroy notional enemy’s submarine with bombs in naval drills

Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

The crews of Kamov Ka-27 PL antisubmarine warfare helicopters from the airbase of the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation have spotted and destroyed a notional enemy’s submarine with air bombs in naval drills, Fleet spokesman Roman Martov told TASS on Wednesday.

“According to the drills’ scenario, an enemy submarine reconnoitering the fleet’s naval group has been detected in a combat training range in the Baltic Sea.

The crews of the Ka-27 PL antisubmarine warfare helicopters have spotted the submarine and determined its coordinates with the help of radar systems and sonars.

The submarine – a specially imitated underwater target – has been destroyed by air bombs from the air,” the spokesman said.

The helicopter crews also carried cargoes on external suspension and performed planned patrolling of the Baltic Sea coastline, the Fleet spokesman said.

Overall, 10 combat helicopters were involved in the drills.

Original article: TASS Russian News Agency.


Taiwan wary as China’s first ‘combat ready’ aircraft carrier sails near its defence zone

Taiwan has cast a nervous eye as China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, along with its convoy, sailed into Taipei’s air defence identification zone early on Wednesday (12 July). The “combat ready” warship was on its way back from Hong Kong where it had made a five-day port call.

The Liaoning left Hong Kong at about noon on Tuesday and entered Taiwan’s defence zone by 2.40am on Wednesday, the island’s defence ministry said. It added that Taipei was closely monitoring the movement of the carrier, and that there was no cause for alarm. The vessel sailed in a northerly direction via the western side of the Taiwan Strait, Reuters cited the ministry as saying.

But it also clarified that it did not detect any abnormal activity in its airspace, although it is not clear when the convoy is expected to leave Taiwan’s air defence zone. Taiwan reportedly scrambled jets and naval vessels to shadow the movement of the Liaoning, according to the South China Morning Post.

“We have conducted overall surveillance and made necessary preparations for [the Liaoning’s passage] in line with the emergency regulations,” a ministry statement said.

It is believed to be the fourth time that the Liaoning has sailed near Taiwan. China considers Taipei as its breakaway province and has always defended the passage of its vessel as routine drills. The Soviet-built vessel had also entered the Taiwan Strait earlier this month when it was en route to Hong Kong.

The Liaoning docked in the semi-autonomous city-state as part of the anniversary celebration to mark 20 years since the Asian financial hub was handed back to mainland China, ending 156 years of British colonial rule. The carrier group conducted an aircraft launch and landing training after wrapping up its visit to Hong Kong, Reuters reported.

The aircraft carrier and its fleet were also open to the public in Hong Kong, with the city’s compatriots learning more about the Chinese military’s accomplishments The Liaoning’s fleet included a number of shipboard J-15 fighter jets and helicopters. Accompanied by two guided-missile destroyers CNS Jinan and CNS Yinchuan, as well as guided-missile frigate CNS Yantai and other ships from its strike group, this was the first time the Liaoning had docked in Hong Kong.

The Liaoning, whose home port is in northern China, left Shandong province on 25 June. China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taipei under its control, but since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May last year, Beijing fears the democratic leader may seek independence for the self-ruled nation.

Original article: By Nandini Krishnamoorthy, International Business Times.

The Long And Strange Tale Of China’s First Aircraft Carrier

With China’s first aircraft carrier having paid its first port call to Hong Kong, Forces News takes a look at the Liaoning’s long and unusual story.

The visit, intended to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the region’s handover from British to Chinese rule, came after China confirmed the ship was combat ready in November last year.

Previously described by Chinese media as a surface platform for training and tests, the state-run Global Times announced the Liaoning now had “a real combat capacity”. It quoted a government official, Li Dongyou, as saying she is “constantly prepared for war”:

The Liaoning: A History

The first strange thing about the carrier? She wasn’t even built by China.

Liaoning was in fact born as ‘Riga’. Built for the Soviet Navy as the sister ship to the Admiral Kuznetsov (now Russia’s only carrier),

she has similar capabilities and characteristics – but a much more complicated history. Launched in 1988, she was renamed ‘Varyag’ two years later.

China’s carrier was built in a shipyard in what’s now Ukraine

The ship was structurally complete but without electronics, an engine or rudder. She was left idle and unmaintained as Ukraine began searching for potential buyers, making overtures to China, but it wasn’t until 1998 that a winning bid was announced.

Finding A Buyer

Yet here the plot thickens even further. The buyer wasn’t the Chinese Navy, but the Chong Lot Travel Agency, a Hong Kong-based company.

It bid US $20 million to tow Varyag out of the Black Sea, through the Suez Canal and around southern Asia to the autonomous Chinese territory of Macau, where she was to be moored and converted into a floating hotel and casino.

The man at the helm of the deal, Xu Zengping, later told the South China Morning Post that he had been secretly commissioned by the Chinese Navy to buy the carrier, with the floating hotel and casino a cover story to avoid offending the US and to assuage Ukrainian concerns about potential military use.

He’d been warned that the purchase was a risky one, due to the lack of Navy funds and support from Beijing for the deal. Officials in Macau, meanwhile, had warned Chong Lot that it would not be allowed to berth Varyag in its harbour before the auction was closed.

Varyag before she became ‘Liaoning’.
But after being bowled over by a visit to the ship in Ukraine, he decided to gamble his own funds on the deal, and after a negotiation in Kiev, lubricated by bribery and liquor, was successful at auction.

It would ultimately cost him at least US $120 million, with shell companies having to be created, and transit fees, tow bills and fines having to be paid.

He says no reimbursement of any kind was received from China, and that he’s spent almost two decades repaying his debts, in part by selling properties including his palatial home. It’s been suggested that part of the reason is that many of the naval officials who ordered the mission had either died or were in jail.

The Woes Continue

Next, it was time to tow her home. The only problem: Chong Lot couldn’t get permission from Turkey for the half-built carrier to transit the dangerous Bosphorus strait, saying the vessel posed too great a danger to maritime traffic.

So the hulk spent 16 months circling in the Black Sea under tow while high-level Chinese officials negotiated, offering Chinese tourism as an incentive to allow the ship passage.

Varyag under tow in Istanbul.

In the end, Turkey relented in late 2001. Varyag passed through the Dardanelles without incident on November 2, escorted by 27 other vessels.

Just two days later, however, she was caught in a force 10 gale and broke adrift while passing the Greek island of Skyros, and began drifting toward the island of Euboea.

The hulk was taken back under tow on November 6, although this came after a sailor had died having falling while attempting to reattach the tow lines.

Work Finally Underway

Refurbishment work and fitting out began in 2005 after a move to dry dock in the city of Dalian. Engines and ‘other heavy equipment’ were installed from 2009, with sea trials starting two years later.

Smaller-scale hiccups continued, with Liaoning at one point experiencing a steam burst in her engine compartment which made the ship lose power, and forced crew to evacuate some parts of her.

During refit in Dalian.

But trials were finally over in 2012, after which the carrier was commissioned and officially named Liaoning (pictured top), in honour of the province in which she was retrofitted – 24 years after her initial launch.

State media reported that it would be another four to five years before the Liaoning reached full capacity, however, because of training and coordination necessary due to her being the first operational Chinese aircraft carrier.

Liaoning Today

Nowadays, Liaoning is finally able to do what she was intended for. She can carry a total of 36 aircraft, including 24 J-15 fighter jets and a number of military helicopters.

The main difference between her and her Russian sister ship is that unlike the Kuznetsov, which carries surface-attack cruise missiles, Liaoning is equipped only with air defence weapons and must use its aircraft for surface attack.

Looking forward, some geopolitical analysts have feared that China could use Liaoning and newer carriers like the Type 001A to intimidate smaller countries that have territorial claims in the South China Sea. as well as extending air control further south of the disputed area.

With thanks to Simon Yang for photography.


Original article: By John-Paul Tooth, Forces Network.



Russia’s cutting-edge multipurpose helicopters to be showcased at MAKS-2017 air show

Mi-8AMTSh Assault Transport Helicopter. Credit: Military-Today.com

The Russian Helicopter company will showcase two versions of the Mi-8AMT helicopter, which is manufactured by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, at the MAKS-2017 International Air Show. The first version will be multi-purpose, capable of carrying out medical evacuation and transportation of cargo and personnel, and the second version will be a VIP version, the company’s CEO Andrey Boginsky told reporters on Friday.

“Equipment from all the company’s manufacturers will be presented [at the show]. We’ve got two versions of the helicopter produced by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant: the multi-purpose Mi-8AMT (which can perform medical evacuation and transportation of cargo and personnel) and a VIP [version],” he said.

Boginsky assured that the rotorcraft will attract attention at the MAKS-2017, adding that the helicopters may be delivered to potential buyers right after the air show.

The first Mi-8AMT multi-role helicopter was produced at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in 2014 for Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company.

 Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant is one of Russian Helicopters’ production facilities which has manufactured over 8,000 aircraft since 1939. Today the plant focuses on the production of the Mi-8AMT (Mi-171E), Mi-171 and Mi-8AMTSh(Mi-171Sh) helicopters.

The MAKS-2017 International Air Show will run from July 18 to July 23 in the town of Zhukovsky, in the Moscow Region.

Original article: TASS Russian News Agency.