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Air Force (Aviatsiya Voyenno) Resources

Procurement 2011-2020

Aircraft quantity
An-124 Ruslan 20
An-70 50
Il-476 50
Il-112B ??
Su-35S 48
Su-27SM 12
Su-30MK2 4
Su-34 32,
possibly 60-80 more
Su-25UBM /
possibly 20 more
MiG-35 30
MiG-29SMT /
MiG-29K /
possibly 22 more
Yak-130UBS 120
New airborne early warning aircraft 2-3
Be-200PS 8-10
In 2010 the Center for the Analysis of the World Arms Trade (TsAMTO), Igor Korotchenko addressed what the new GPV [state defense budget] 2011-2020 might buy.
The remains of the Soviet Air and Air Defence Forces that Russia inherited were pruned substantially in the late 1990s. Thirty two airfields were abandoned. Total personnel dropped from 318,000 in January 1998 (for both services) to a unified strength of 193,000: the final strength aimed at is about 185,000.

Under severe post-Soviet budgetary constraints, government defense procurements were drastically cut. A further constraint was the significant surplus of used military equipment on hand as a result of efforts to downsize the armed services. While the best items were reissued to the newly reformed formations - where possible with some overhaul and upgrades - a sizeable amount had yet to be disposed of by the end of the century. It was reported that in 1998 no major equipment items were procured. Plans for future procurements are reportedly only for minimal replacements of existing inventory as needed, possible procurement of "one-of-a-kind" prototypes, and the eventual (2005 at the earliest) re-equipping of the services with updated military aircraft and air defense systems.

In June 1998, about half way through the downsizing, approximately 600 aircraft had been released for international sale, including MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Su-22s, L-39s and transports. Older SAMs, such as S-125 and S-200 were also put on the market. The reduction in the number of aircraft improved mission capable rates to to 80% -- previously, it was estimated to be 45-50% for long-range aviation, 40-50% for frontal aviation, 60-65% for storm aviation and 40% for fighters.

During the 1990s Combat training was practically not financed at all. In 1998, the military received only six percent of the resources required for combat training. Even this amount was only apportioned for maintaining infrastructure, which forced the military to finance fuel, ammunition, and training equipment from other sources. Training continued to be conducted on a reduced scale or was replaced by less resource-intensive activities (e.g., command post exercises replacing field tactical exercises). Personnel shortfalls, combined with a lack of materiel, contributed to the postponement or non-execution of unit training plans. Russian Air Force elements executed only between 15-40 percent of their standard training norms. This was contributing to the rapid decay of combat readiness.

Average flying hours in the 1990s were far too low to maintain proficiency. The necessary minimum is at least 80 hours a year, and high combat readiness would require upwards of 150-200 hours a year. in the late 1990s the Russian Air Force annual average was 21 hours -- frontal (tactical) aviation averaged 10 hours while strike and long-range aviation averaged 20 and 21 hours respectively.

After the start of the Balkan war, however, Russia conducted large-scale air force exercises ("Air Bridge 99", March 1999) that involved 100 aircraft and helicopters, including TU-22m3, TU-95, and TU-160 strategic bombers; MIG-29, MIG-31, and SU-27 fighters; and An-30, TU-22mp, and IL-76 spy aircraft. At the same time, routine exercises of the 326th Bomber Division were held in the Amur Region of Russia's Far East.

In January 2004 Russian Federation Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Colonel-general Vladimir Mikhailov said that only 15 per cent of the government defense order would fall at the Air Force in 2004. Before the Air Force and the Anti-missile Defense merged, each structure had had 15 per cent of the government defense order. However, the situation changed after the merger and became unfavorable for the Air Force. As a result, even though the defense order increased by almost 20 per cent this year, the Air Force still suffers from poor financing. The Air Force planned to acquire modernized planes only. The only new projects are developed is the Su-34 new military bomber that is to be adopted by the Air Force in 2004. This renovation of outdated equipment is justified under conditions of restricted financing as it saves budgetary spending. The modernization will be first of all applied to Su-24 bombers, Su-25 attack planes, MiG-29 and MiG-31 pursuit planes.

The Russian Air Force planned to take delivery of about 90 new or modernized fixed and rotary wing aircraft in 2012, a Defense Ministry spokesman said 22 November 2011. The Air Force will receive up to 10 Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers, about 10 Su-25SM Frogfoot attack fighters, and an unspecified number of Su-35S Flanker-E multirole fighters, Col. Vladimir Drik said. The Su-35S is Russia’s advanced “Generation 4++” fighter. New acquisitions will also include over 20 attack helicopters, such as the Mi-28N Night Hunter and the Ka-52 Alligator, as well as “highly modernized” Mi-35 Hind helicopters. The Air Force was also to receive about 30 Mi-8 transport and five Mi-26T heavy lift helicopters.

Russia's Military Transport Aviation (VTA) is to receive 60 Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft by 2020, the service's commander Lt. Gen. Viktor Kachalkin said on 31 May 2012. "From 2014, we will start to get the Ilyushin Il-76-MD90A (Il-476) and also the modernized Il-76MD. We are also counting on getting the new An-70," he said.

As is well known, protests in Kyiv began on November 21, 2013, following the Government of Ukraine’s announcement that it was suspending preparations to sign an association agreement with the European Union. On February 22, following three months of large protests and violent clashes, former President Yanukovych departed Kyiv. The Ukrainian Parliament established a new government on February 27. Groups that oppose the new government and support closer ties with Russia staged demonstrations in cities throughout eastern and southern Ukraine. Russian troops occupied several government buildings, including airports, and established roadblocks on the Crimean Peninsula. Under these circumstances, it would seem improbable that Ukraine and Russia would continue joint work on this project.

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Page last modified: 15-03-2014 15:14:11 ZULU