UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



Training Aircraft

L-39S Albatros






The flight training system in Russia is conducted in three stages. The initial flight training of cadets will be carried out on the Austrian Diamond DA42T multi-purpose aircraft, which are licensed by the Ural Civil Aviation Plant. The average flight training in the second and fourth courses - on the training aircraft under development with the reverse sweep of the wing CP-10. The third stage is the Yak-130 combat training aircraft at the graduation course.

Yuri Borisov, who was then Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, reported that the military department plans to purchase 35 Diamond DA42T training aircraft by the end of 2019, and the head of the Smolensk region, Alexei Ostrovsky, said that the Smolensk Aviation Plant will begin production of the CP training aircraft -10 for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation after 2019. The size of the pilot batch, according to the governor, will be 50 aircraft.

In addition, in 2016, Borisov stated that the Russian Ministry of Defense planned in 2017 to conclude a contract with the Irkutsk Aviation Plant for the supply of the first three Yak-152 piston training aircraft. Serial production of this machine, equipped with German engines, was planned to be launched in March 2017. It was expected that the Yak-152 will be the aircraft of the initial flight training for flight schools and first courses of schools. Then the cadets had to transfer to the combat training aircraft Yak-130.

The Soviet Union did not reach its military superpower status with military equipment and manpower alone. A highly trained professional group of officers was required to recommend the weapon systems needed and to help formulate the military doctrine and strategy that have placed Soviet military power and presence from Central America to the Indian Ocean. These officers were educated and trained in a professional military school system that was more than double that of any other nation.

An airman becomes one with the airplane rather than a machine operator. An accomplished airman demonstrates the ability to assess a situation quickly and accurately and deduce the correct procedure to be followed under the circumstance; to analyze accurately the probable results of a given set of circumstances or of a proposed procedure; to exercise care and due regard for safety; to gauge accurately the performance of the airplane; and to recognize personal limitations and limitations of the airplane and avoid approaching the critical points of each.

  1. Primary Trainer are typically single engine propeller driven aircraft. The development of airmanship skills requires effort and dedication on the part of both the student pilot and the flight instructor, beginning with the very first training flight where proper habit formation begins with the student being introduced to good operating practices. There are four fundamental basic flight maneuvers upon which all flying tasks are based: straight-and level flight, turns, climbs, and descents. All controlled flight consists of either one, or a combination or more than one, of these basic maneuvers. Aircraft that have very benign stall characteristics are used as primary trainer.
  2. Intermediate Trainer are typically light-weight jet-propelled aircraft. An intermediate trainer is employed for pilot training between the primary trainer and the advanced trainer. Transition to a complex airplane, or a high performance airplane, can be demanding for most pilots without previous experience. Increased performance and increased complexity both require additional planning, judgment, and piloting skills. Transition to a complex airplane or a high performance airplane should be accomplished through a structured course of training administered by a competent and qualified flight instructor. The training should be accomplished in accordance with a ground and flight training syllabus. In 1962 three types of two- seat jet trainer airplanes were tested in the Soviet Union - the Soviet Magnum (Yak-30)/Mantis (Yak-32), the Polish Iskra (Ts-11), and the CzechoSlovak L-29 jet trainers. The decision was made to use the L-29 for training CMEA military pilots.
  3. Advanced Trainers are typically derivatives of combat aircraft, with a second rear cockpit seat for the flight instructor. The pilot who has acquired necessary airmanship skills during training, and demonstrates these skills by flying training-type airplanes with precision and safe flying habits, will be able to easily transition to more complex and higher performance airplanes. Training scenarios (and hence, training aircraft), should be representative of what the pilot would see in the airplane he/she normally flies. This points to the need for in-depth, type-specific checkout training.
  4. Multi-Engine Trainer - The basic difference between operating a multiengine airplane and a single-engine airplane is the potential problem involving an engine failure. The penalties for loss of an engine are twofold: performance and control. The most obvious problem is the loss of 50 percent of power, which reduces climb performance 80 to 90 percent, sometimes even more.
Some indication of a nation’s scientific and technical capability can be determined by an examination of its educational establishment, in particular its universities. In like manner, an indication of the competence of an officer corps can be gained by examining the schools in which they obtain their professional education and training.

A nation's officers are products of the social order. In a nation where military might is not a major issue, the armed forces receive little attention. This was not the case in the Soviet Union. There were few days when Soviet television did not show scenes from the Great Patriotic War. From early childhood, Soviet youth were taught the glories of the Soviet Armed Forces. As Pioneers, the nationwide organization of youth ages eight to fifteen, both boys and girls received rudimentary military training. In the summer, between twelve and sixteen million Soviet Pioneers participate in Zarnitsa, their major military-sport game. Part of the game required wearing gas masks while crossing "contaminated" areas. The Komsomol (Young Communist League) sponsored another game, Orlenok, for boys and girls ages fifteen to seventeen. This was a more advanced exercise, which features small-arms firing and civil defense work. Four to eight million youth participated in this game each year.

From ages fifteen to seventeen, young people were required to take 140 hours of "beginning military training," which covers basically the same areas that a US recruit receives in the first few weeks after induction. Males also are supposed to attend two periods of summer camp. At age seventeen, males were given an additional year of "specialist" training by DOSAAF. Sometimes this is as simple as driver's education but may go as far as soloing in a trainer aircraft. While this training is spotty, all male youth had received some military training by the time they reach eighteen years of age.

In the US Air Force, Air Force Academy graduates who elect to become pilots may attend one of the six Air Force flying schools. In the Soviet Union, thirteen flying training schools under the administrative control of the Air Forces provided pilots for both the Air Forces, Navy, and possibly for a few pilots for the Troops of Air Defense as well. Course length at these schools is four years. Soviet navigators are training in two schools. (See Table III.) The Air Forces have seven higher military aviation-engineer schools, all with five-year courses. There was an Air Forces signals school, and seven Air Forces military technical schools, which were only three years in length. Graduates were commissioned as aviation-technical officers and were awarded a diploma, not a degree. Prior to 1981, the Troops of Air Defense had three flying training schools. Two of these were transferred to the Air Forces. The one remaining flying school for PVO was Stavropol' Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots and Navigators (named for Marshal of Aviation V. A. Sudets).

When comparing the US pilot selection system with the Soviets, one could safely say that the Soviets' competition for pilot training slots was more competitive than the US. The benefits after attaining the status of fighter pilot in the Soviet Union were some of the highest in the society. The higher aviation schools were considered among the best schools in the country, and military aviation is a highly sought-after profession. The Soviet pilot is at the top of the economic and social scale so that selection to one of the higher aviation schools is a ticket to the upper echelons of society. Lieutenant Viktor I. Belenko, the Soviet MiG pilot who defected in September 1976, related that more than 4000 applicants tested for only 360 slots to his freshman class at the Soviet Air Defense Command flight training program at Armavir in the Caucasus. And, out of the 360 that began, only 258 graduated—a 30 percent attrition rate. Thus, while it can be argued that the average Soviet high school graduate was probably less technically oriented than his U.S. counterpart, the Soviets had the advantage of large numbers of applicants to military aviation schools from which they can choose the cream of the high school crop.

If there was one area where the United States Air Force led all countries, it was in fighter training. In the years after the advent of Red Flag, Aggressor training, and Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT), the USAF made gigantic strides toward realistic fighter training. From the lessons learned in Vietnam and the Red Baron report, US fighter forces developed the most realistic and ambitious training program in the world.

The Soviets, on the other hand, were late in realizing that new generation fighters need new generation training philosophies. As stated in Soviet Military Power, published by the Department of Defense in March 1983, "the Soviets have recently made significant changes in their air combat tactics and training programs. Pilot independence and initiatives are now stressed. The continual, technological upgrading of equipment and increasing proficiency in combat employment of that equipment have resulted in greatly increased Soviet aviation capabilities." Thus, even in the area of training where the USAF fighter pilot had always excelled, Soviet initiatives dictate new and aggressive US training initiatives if the United States was to maintain its advantage in the training variable.

Since 1970 Moscow underwrote an ambitious modernization program that transformed the Soviet air forces from a largely defensive arm into. one with significant offensive potential, particularly for operations on the Soviet periphery. The forces were equipped with new aircraft that possess substantially greater combat range, more lethal firepower, and more versatile support systems.

Nevertheless, personnel and equipment deficiencies imposed constraints on the readiness of Soviet air forces. US and Soviet definitions of readiness are similar, focusing on the ability of a force to perform the missions for which it is organized. In its most basic sense, readiness consists of two essential elements: the availability of combat forces as determined by such factors as alert rates, operational readiness rates, and peacetime basing; and the preparedness of combat forces including such factors as maintenance, training, logistics, and weapon system capabilities.

Personnel problems, such as low morale and poor discipline within the enlisted ranks, alcohol abuse, friction between ethnic groups, and animosity between first- and second-year conscripts also affect air force readiness. The air force seemed to be able to control these problems, however, in part through screening of conscripts to eliminate or reduce the percentage of non-Europeans and those with low technical skills.

The Soviet air force training system appeared to be quite good at preparing qualified commissioned officers but was of limited value for the lower ranks. Since conscripts and junior NCOs usually performed little more than menial tasks, air readiness was not adversely affected. Soviet air crew training, however, had limitations that impact directly on pilot proficiency. Although the pilot training program is sufficient in teaching basic skills and' flight operations, it lacked some of the realism of NATO pilot training and did not give the Soviet pilot as much training for operating in a high threat environment as his NATO counterpart. Aerobatics of the sort IFF training is said to require was all but absent from most Soviet pilot training.

However, the Soviets appeared to be aware of these problems and were attempting to correct them with advanced training programs. Although their training was still not as sophisticated as that of NATO, the gap appeared to be narrowing. The pilot training problem also was offset by the tendency to require less of pilots in combat operations and to leave them in combat units for much longer tours than their US counterparts. Nonetheless, should Soviet forces not be able to achieve a substantial numerical advantage, pilot training could be an important limitation in combat against a well-trained adversary.

Russian air force units have pursued advanced tactics and combat training, including a competitive element. Russian adversary units fly specially marked aircraft, like their US equivalents.

Russian pilots displayed their mastery during the Aviadarts-2016 flight skills competition in Crimea featuring fighter jets, bombers, helicopters and other aircraft. The annual event has been held in Russia since 2013. The Aviadarts show is an annual competition to test flight skills and precision shooting organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. More than 100 of the best pilots from the air forces of Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Belarus are taking part in the Aviadarts 2015 competition, on the Dubrovichy range, in the Ryazan region of Russia. Military pilots test their accuracy, navigation, aerobatics and endurance skills at three Crimean air fields on 28 May -05 June 2016.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list