Fighter-bombers Su-17 in Afghanistan

"Limited contingent of Russian troops" entered in Afghanistan December 25, 1979 (later prince Fortieth Army), was almost immediately reinforced by the helicopter and fighter-bombers of the 49th Air Army (BA) from bases TurkVO. As with the entire operation "of international assistance to the Afghan people", the transfer of aircraft and people held in the criteria of a serious privacy. Task — to fly to airfields in Afghanistan and throw back all the required property — was given to the pilots and technicians almost at the last day. "Overtake Americans" — this is the legend later with persistence advocated to explain the circumstances of the input parts of the Russian army in the neighboring country. First moved to the DRA regiment of fighter-bombers of the Kyzyl-Arvat armed Su-17 and Su-17M. Place chosen based and airfield Shindand, is also located there, and a separate helicopter squadron.

When relocation of any technical problems did not appear — after the half-hour night flight first group of the An-12, to deliver the necessary technical crews and ground support equipment, landed in Afghanistan, were deployed after the Su-17. The haste and confusion made themselves felt — no one could say with certainty how their experiences a strange country, in whose hands the airport, and that he expects to "new location."

Terms of Afghanistan were distant from comfortable and not much resemble conventional airfields, and polygons. As the orientation of the General Staff said, "liking terrain of Afghanistan — one of the toughest areas for air operations." In general, the actions of aviation and climate did not favor. Winter frosts tridtsatigradusnaya at one point alternated prolonged rain and sleet, often blowing "Afghan" and flew dust storms reduce visibility to 200-300 m and makes the flight unenforceable. Even worse had the summer when the air temperature was rising up to +52 ° C, and the skin of the aircraft under a bright and very hot sun heated up to +80 ° C. The constant searing heat, remains strong and NIGHT MODE, unvaried diet and lack of criteria for recreation exhausted people.

Airfields applicable to the basing of modern combat aircraft, was only 5 — Kabul, Bagram, Shindand, Jalalabad and Kandahar They were placed at a height of 1500 — 2500 m on, the sea level. Approval on their merit only good properties runway, especially "betonki" Jalalabad and Bagram. Everything else needed for everything, equipment parking and maintenance of flights — from food and bedding to spare parts and ammunition — had to be delivered from the USSR. The road network was poorly developed, railway transport and aqua just "was, and the whole burden was placed on a transport aircraft.

In March and April 1980, fighting broke acts DRA army and Russian troops against the gangs, who did not want to come to terms with the country imposed a "socialist orientation". The specificity of the local criterion immediately claimed widespread introduction of air, which would ensure that the planned operations, supporting the actions of ground troops and striking at inaccessible places. In order to improve the coordination and efficiency of operations aviation units, located in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, were subject to being in Kabul command of the 40th Army, which was at the command post (CP) Air Force.

Su-17M4 at Bagram airfield. Under the wing — cluster bombs RBK-500-375 with shrapnel equipment. On the fuselage — cassette with thermal traps

First, the enemy were scattered, few and poorly armed groups are of no practical threat to the aircraft. Because the strategy was fairly common — found by armed groups, blows bombs and unguided rockets (NAR) from low altitudes (for accuracy), and the main difficulty lay in the difficulty of orientation on a monotone mountain and desert terrain. Sometimes the pilots on their return could not pinpoint on a map where they got rid of the bomb. Another discrepancy was piloting itself in the mountains, the height of which Afghanistan is seeking 3500m Wealth natural shelter — cliffs, caves and vegetation — has forced the search for targets to drop to 600 — 800 meters. In addition, the mountains made it difficult and complicated radio control flying.

Exhausting climatic conditions and intense combat work led to an increase in the number of errors in the pilot technique and irregularities in the preparation of aircraft, and of the average age of the pilots of the "first-in" does not exceed 25-26 years.

Not easily accounted for and Technology. The heat and high altitude "eat" traction engines, causing overheating and equipment failure (especially frequently broke down the sights of TSA-17), dust clogs filters and lube ports of aircraft components. Deteriorating runways properties, grew up fuel consumption, lowers the ceiling and weapons load. The run of the Su-17 and the conventional take-off weight grew up in one and a half times! For landing overheat and damage the wheel brakes "burned" rubber pneumatic tires.

Operation of the automatic sight in bombing and missile launches in the mountains was unreliable, because often had to use a tool in manual mode. The risk of a collision with a mountain in the attack or leaving it sought to perform special maneuvers, such as slides, calling at the target and dropped their bombs from a height of 1600 — 1800 m-5 rockets were used from a distance of about 1500 m, which resulted in a significant scatter and combined with a weak warhead made them ineffective remedy. Because in the upcoming C-5 were used only poorly protected against targets in open terrain. In the fight against fortifications and gun emplacements have shown themselves perfectly languorous NAR C-24, which had a significantly higher accuracy and more than powerful warhead weighing 25.5 kg. Mounted

UPK-23-250 were virtually unacceptable for the Su-17 — for they were not suitable targets, and of 2-integrated 30-mm guns, HP-30 was enough. As it is not needed and SPPU-22 with movable guns — an area not sufficiently suited to their implementation, and the complexity of the device determined the extra costs to the service time. The requirement for the efficiency of sorties, the problem with the supply and difficult local conditions rapidly led to major destinations in the preparation of aircraft: the highest speed and simplicity of equipment, requiring the least possible cost of time and effort.

Martial act promptly got hold of a large-scale nature. Samples of the government to "restore order" only led to a growing resistance and bombing did not cause the population to respect the "people's power". Kyzyl-Arvatsky regiment a year changed the Su-17 from Chirchik, and then flown to Afghanistan regiment of Mary. Then, by the decision of the Head of Staff of the Air Force through the DRA had to go through shelves and other fighter, fighter-bomber and tactical bomber to acquire combat experience, develop skills of independent action and, not least, to identify opportunities in combat troops. Subjected to testing and technology, in a lot of hard use to reveal their abilities and shortcomings.

For operations in remote areas of the Su-17 of exchanging Shindand airbase at Bagram, near Kabul and Kandahar in the south of the country. Based in Jalalabad tried to avoid because of the approaching attacks tightly to the airfield "green zone" there are mundane.

Scaling fighting required an increase in the efficiency of flights and refine the strategy. First it was due to the fact that the enemy has changed itself. Already in 1980-81. began to operate large opposition groups, well armed and equipped bases in Iran a
nd Pakistan, where many of the countries in the Arab world and the West received modern weapons, communications, and transportation. The biggest threat to their imagined aviation, and soon got the Mujahideen air defenses, first-heavy machine guns ANC and 14.5-mm anti-aircraft mountain setting (ZSU). Low-flying aircraft and helicopters fire was carried out as small guns — rifles and machine guns. As a result, 85% of all injuries aircraft had at the time the bullets of 5.45 mm, 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm.

The increased risk in combat missions urged to take steps to improve the training of pilots on their way to the DRA. It was divided into three steps. The first took place on their own ground and held the 2-3 months of the study area for future combat operations, development of tactics and features of piloting. The second takes 2-3 weeks for special training ranges TurkVO. And, finally, on-site pilots were put into operation for 10 days. Later experience in Afghanistan have introduced the Air Force combat training, and exchanging shelves in the DRA without special training. Arriving pilots newcomers with local criteria introduced pilots of replaceable group, taking them to the "Spark" Su-17UM.

The extensive use of air achieve accurate organization of its interaction with his troops and a clear definition of the seat of the enemy. But the pilots of supersonic fighter-bombers filled with the most modern equipment, often could not without the help of others to find subtle goals for the monotonous mountainous terrain, gorges and mountain passes in the middle. For this reason, one of the first large-scale operations carried out in the Panjshir valley of the river in April 1980 (popular as the first Panjshir) was planned without verbovaniya aircraft. Three Russian and two Afghan battalions involved in it were only supported by artillery and helicopters.

Sou-22M4 Afghan 355 th Regiment. During the war the insignia of the DRA than once changed their form, keeping the main color: reddish (standards of socialism), green (allegiance to Islam) and dark (the color of the earth)

Improve the efficiency of air operations and facilitate the work of the pilots had a preparatory exploration sites for future raids. She first made MiG-21R and Yak-28R, and later — Sioux 17M3R, kitted navesnoymi intelligence containers KKR-1 / T and the KKR-half with a set of aerial cameras for routine, promising and panoramic shots, infrared (IR) and radio ( PT) detection equipment. In particular, the fundamental role of the intelligence turned out to be the preparation of large operations to destroy fortified and "clean areas". The acquired information is applied to a fotoplanshety, where they are placing the purposes and means of enemy air defenses, especially the terrain and the reference point. This facilitated the planning of attacks, and the pilots could previously familiar with the area and has caused in the performance of tasks. Before the operation was carried out exploration, which allowed just clarify details.

The intense fighting forced to work to reduce the time aircraft maintenance. While the pilot had dinner, this Su-17M4R time to fuel up, recharge the camera and tapes thermal traps, change the worn pneumatic wheels

Night photography gorges and mountain passes (a revival in the mujahideen camps, the movement of caravans with a gun and access to positions in the main place secretly, at night) with illumination by light bombs (SAB) and fotopatronami OP-100 proved to be ineffective. A huge amount of hard shadows that have arisen in the mountains in artificial light, making the use of aerial cameras UA-47 is actually worthless — acquired images did not respond to decipher. Rescued overarching intelligence with the introduction of IR equipment and radio system SRS-13 work stations pinpoint enemy. Improved infrared equipment "Winter" NIGHT MODE allowed to detect the residual traces of thermal radiation even a passing car or extinguished bonfire. Preparing the "work for a day", around Kabul, Bagram and Kandahar worked nights 4 — 6 scouts and Su-Su-17M3R 17M4R.

The appearance in the sky scouts were no signs of anything decent Mujahideen. Usually, right behind them were flying attack aircraft, and of themselves scouts usually carry weapons, enabling them without the help of others to do the "hunt" in the area. With all of this lead plane, except Intelligence container, carrying a pair of languid NAR C-24, and the slave — 4 S-24 rockets or bombs.

By 1981, the military operations in Afghanistan have caught the scale, necessitating the introduction of large groups of planes. Because of the problems based on the location of the DRA (priemuschestvenno, a small number of airfields and problems with the supply of munitions and fuel) concentration attracted to the aircraft performed strikes on airfields TurkVO. There were a significant share of the Su-17, profitably distinguished from other aircraft meaningful combat load and greater efficiency in operations against ground targets. "Pass" through Afghanistan shelf Su-17 were located on the ground Chirchiq, Mary, Kalai Moore and Kokayty. "Local" regiments of the 49th VA worked for "river" is almost constantly in the case of delays in the planned substitution of parts of themselves in the DRA "out of order".

Working with databases TurkVO sought installation on the Su-17 mounted fuel tanks (PTB), which reduced the combat load. Had to be revised versions of weapons used in favor of more efficient. Su-17 steel equip oneself with high-explosive and high-explosive bombs (FAB and OFAB) in the main caliber 250 and 500 kg (previously used "hundreds" were not strong enough to strike in the mountains). Multi Lock bomb racks MBDZ-U6-68, any of which could carry up to six bombs were used occasionally — in the heat to raise a huge amount of ammunition, making them a good suspension on polutorastakilogrammovye MDB, the Su-17 was simply not do. Widely used on the Su-17 bombing ligaments and cluster bombs RBC, "sows the" fragmentation or pellet bombs at once several hectares. They were particularly effective in the criteria, where every stone and crevice became a hiding place for the enemy. Insufficiently massive 57mm NAR-5 replaced by new 80-mm rockets S-8 blocks in the B-8M. Weight of warhead was increased to 3.5 kg, and the distance run allowed hit the target without entering the zone of antiaircraft fire. Usually combat load of the Su-17 was determined by calculating the reliability of the task and the ability of non-hazardous landing at fault (by aircraft landing weight) and does not exceed 1500 kg — 3 "pyatisotok."

A pair of scouts Sioux 17M4R at Bagram Airfield before departure. The aircraft is a leading container KKR-1 / T. Slave task — to conduct visual reconnaissance and do bind to a landmark

Summer heat not only reduced the traction engines and reliability of the equipment, and the pilots could not wait for the long flight to the heated cabins. Because by the ability of flights planned for premature morning or in the night. "Capriciousness" were also certain types of ammunition: incendiary tanks, rockets and guided missiles have restrictions in temperature and could not long remain in the sling under the bright sun and very hot.

The principal objective was also preventive actions aimed at the destruction of caravans wit
h ammunition and weapon, destruction of mountain trails and mountain passes, through which the Mujahideen could get close to the protected objects. Massive FAB-500 and discharged a volley of FAB-250 caused landslides in the mountains, making them impassable, and they were used for the destruction of rock shelters, warehouses and protected emplacements. Typical variations of weapons when flying on the "hunt" for the caravans were two missile unit (UB-32 or B-8M) and two cluster bombs (RBC-RBC-250 or 500) or four NAR C-24, while in both cases were suspended two PTB-800.

On the side of the enemy were not poor knowledge of terrain, the support of the population, the ability to take advantage of natural cover and camouflage. Opposition groups moved swiftly and quickly disperses in the event of a threat. Find them from the air was not easy, even on a tip because of the lack of appropriate guidelines for monotonous terrain. In addition, planes and helicopters are increasingly stumbling on anti-aircraft fire. On average in 1980, compulsory landing accounted for 830 flight hours or approximately 800 — 1000 departures (and places that are applicable to land the downed aircraft was too little).

To increase the survivability of the system design and the Su-17 is constantly fine-tuned. Damage analysis showed that in most cases fail engine, it aggregates, fuel and hydraulic systems, aircraft control. Carried out complex modifications included the installation of costly ventral armor plates that protected the gearbox, generator and fuel pump, fuel tanks filled with polyurethane foam and charging them with nitrogen to prevent ignition and explosion of fuel vapors in contact with them in fragments and bullets; configuration in the design of the sight of TSA-17, protect it from overheating. Was eliminated in the design and the lack of a braking parachute, lock fastening which occasionally broke off and the aircraft rolled out beyond the runway and getting damaged. Rescued the strength of the design and durability of the Su-17. There were times when returning from a mission warped machines flew with the band and buried in the ground on the most "belly." They managed to bring back in place and re-enter service. The engines of the AL-21F-3 tightly worked even carrying sand and stones "Afghan", suffering and unimaginable in normal conditions Nick compressor blades and dirty fuels (pipelines stretched from the Russian border to deliver it, constantly under fire, blown up, and then simply unscrew eager for gratuitous fuel local population).

To reduce the losses were drawn new tips on the implementation of the strategy of combat aircraft. Run-up was recommended to do with the high altitude and speed, with a dive at an angle of 30-45 °, making it difficult opponent aiming and reduced the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire. At speeds above 900 km / h and above 1000 m combat damage to the Su-17 in general excluded. To achieve surprise strike ordered to do rally, combining in one attack missile launching the dumping of bombs. However, the accuracy of such bomboshturmovogo impact (BSHU) because of the high altitude and the speed was reduced by almost two times that we had to make up for the increase in the number of aircraft strike group that appeared at the target from different directions, when the terrain permits.

By 1981, the saturation of battlefield air defense systems have gained such an extent that the operational planning had to take into account the need to overcome them. Around the fortified areas and base of Mujahideen were up to several 10-s anti-aircraft emplacements. Reduced risk was achieved by the introduction of advanced terrain that ensured stealth approach and surprise exit at the target, as the choice of escape routes after the attack.

Usually, the first designated area appeared a couple of Su-17, the objective of which was the exploration and target designation or lighting smoke bombs strike team simplifies access to the target. Piloted by their more experienced pilots had combat experience and the ability to detect stealth objects. Search is made on the enemy height 800 — 1000 m and a speed of 850 — 900 km / h, holding approximately 3 — 5 minutes. Next, decide everything quickness shock, do not give the opponent the ability to organize the return fire.

At the designated SAB goal after one-two minutes for the band suppression of air defense of the Su-17 2-6. With a height of 2000-2500 m, they found the position of the ANC and the ZSU and dive stabbed NAR C-5, C-8 and cassettes either RBC-250 RBC-500. Liquidation zenith point was made as a single plane, and the couple — slave "finished off" pockets of air defense. Without giving the enemy opamyatovatsya, in 1 — 2 Minutka to appear on the main striking force, to carry out an attack on the move. On strengthening and building rock hit by bombs FAB (OFAB) -250 and-500 missiles S-8 and C-24. Reliable and in the ordinary operation of the C-24 had a huge range and accuracy of start-up (especially from a dive) and applied very broadly. To combat the manpower used cluster munitions RBK-250 and RBK-500. When operating in "Zielonka" and in open places from time to time used incendiary tanks with flame mixture. Guns uniformly lost their meaning — they fire at tremendous speeds was ineffective.

To re-attack aircraft made a maneuver to the discrepancy, rising up to 2000 — 2500 m, and re-applied strike from different directions. After the withdrawal of the strike group to reappear spies who conducted the impartial monitoring results BSHU. Performing tasks should be documented — in the unlikely event the ground troops could not wait nasty surprises. When performing particularly massive air raids fotokontrol done deliberately made with the Tashkent airport An-30. His photographic allowed to do multispectral imaging areas and accurately find the extent of the damage. Reliable radio communication with the CP and the coherence provided airborne plane-Repeater An-26RT.

Testing engine Su-17M4
Afghan Su-22M4 different from the Su-17M4 only the composition of airborne equipment

If the strike was carried out in support of ground forces, inflated accuracy required, as the goals of their own troops were nearby. For interaction with aviation ground forces were attached to the Air Force forward air controllers who make the connection with the pilots and indicate the position of the front edge of their launch flares or smoke bombs. Attack with the support of ground troops lasted for 15-20 minutes. With the air controllers were applied and blows on call for the oppression of newly identified firing points. To ensure the secrecy of maneuver forces or cover their retreat Su-17 and involved as directors of smoke screens. To assess the impact of attacks pilots no later than 5-10 minutes after landing, when memories were still fresh market, had to file a written report to regimental headquarters, immediately transmit to the CP Air Force.

Another objective of the Su-17 was mined from the air unsafe areas and mountain trails. Along with the destruction of their passes bombings mining difficult Mujahideen movement, denying dignity in mobility and surprise attacks. For this purpose, compact cargo containers KMGU, any of which could carry up to 24 minutes. Spreading min Su-17 produced at a speed of 900 km / h

In combat missions revealed shortcomings and reduces the effectiveness of BSHU and increases the risk of damage and loss. For example, during the development of the Afghan theater of operations pilots performing several successful sor
ties, were inclined to re-evaluation of their own forces, an underestimation of the enemy (especially his defense) and began to make attacks monotone, without regard to the terrain and disposition purposes. Reset bombs carried not by a single method, which led to their dispersal. Several parts of the Su-17 had even returned to base due to low precision strikes and the threat of falling on his troops. In the summer of 1984 near Kandahar, the leading group of the Su-17, has refused to aid air controllers, mistakenly threw bombs on their own infantry battalion. Four people were killed and nine were wounded.

Another drawback was the frequent absence of clear data on enemy air defense (according to intelligence in the base areas of the Mujahideen in 1982 there were about 30-40 air defense systems, and supporting Fri — 10). ZSU anti-aircraft machine guns and masked, hiding in shelters and rapidly promoted to the firing position. Attack patterns and the delay time for processing purposes in such criteria become unsafe. In the district of Kandahar in the summer of 1983, the Su-17 was shot down when the sixth (!) Approach to the target. Other causes of loss are pilot error and equipment failure.

Increased tension battles resulted in enormous pressures on pilots and aircraft technicians. Institute of Aerospace Medicine Specialists who have studied the "human factor", have caused that the extra load on the body for 10-11 months saturated sorties lead to "substantial shifts and multi-functional abnormalities in the cardiovascular and motor systems, in 45% of the pilots noted fatigue and violations of the usual psychological activities. " Heat and dehydration led to significant losses in weight (in some cases up to 20 kg) — people almost sohnuli in the sun. Doctors recommended to reduce flight loads, reduce waiting times before departure and make suitable conditions for recreation. In fact, the only recommendation was realized that the maximum allowable flight loads determined in 4 — 5 sorties a day. In fact, the pilots had to do from time to time up to 9 flights.

The accumulation of experience on the basis of mixed groups were formed, consisting of fighter-bombers, attack aircraft and helicopters, complement each other in the search and winding up of the enemy. Since their application in December 1981 was carried out painstakingly prepared an operation to destroy the Islamic committees' authorities on the ground "in the province Foriab, organize armed resistance to Kabul. Apart from the Army, was involved in air assault operations (1,200) and 52 aircraft Air Force 24 Su-17M3, 8 Su-25, 12 MiG-21 and AN-12 8. From the Army Air Corps participated in the operation 12 Mi-24D, 40 Mi-8 and Mi-8, 6, and 12 Afghan Mi-8T. The whole operation was prepared in a serious secret — had experience of attacking an empty place in cases where the plans involved Afghan staff officers. This case was designed for their legend, and only 2 — 3 hours to Afghan military said this information.

Sioux Scout 17M3R container comprehensive exploration KKR-half of infrared and television shooting (after returning from Afghanistan)
"The eyes of the army" — Sioux Scout 17M4R container electronic and photo-reconnaissance MCC-1/ T

The scale of the operation claimed, except for the group of oppression defense MiG-21, the allocation of 3 battle groups, estimated at 8 Su-17M3 (the first of them were attached to the same 8 Su-25, especially effective in ground attack), armed with FAB-250 and RBK-250 bombs with ball. Now blow was applied not only to spell out with weapons, air defense positions and the support bases of the armed groups. Subject to the destruction of the headquarters of the Islamic committees, residential buildings, where they could hide the Mujahideen, and rural schools, which was conducted "antikabulskaya agitation." After departing battle group area "processed" Mi-24D, they are also provided fire support in landing troops from Mi-8 and Mi-6. Despite the low clouds, the acts of aviation to achieve a broker of success — the base of the area did not exist. Loss amounted to one Mi-24D and two Mi-8T, whipped fire ANC.

In April 1982, a similar operation to destroy the base area of Mujahideen was held in Rabat-Jali (Nimroz province), and the fighting began on May 16, an act of cleaning by armed groups Panjshir River Plain. They involved 12 000 persons, 320 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 104 helicopters and 26 airplanes. The success of the second Panjshir operations contributed scouts Su-17, which are within 10 days of aerial photographs of the area were forthcoming action filmed for producing detailed fotoplanshetov about 2000 square meters. km area.

The Afghan campaign has caught the true scale of the war, in which aircraft had to make a variety of combat tasks. Fighters — Su-17 bombers to the Afghan airfields and bases TurkVO destroying objects and enemy bases were specific support for the troops, covered reconnaissance and landings, conducted reconnaissance, aerial mining, target designation, and smoke-screens. At ground attack and attacks from low altitudes often used Su-25, has the best maneuverability and safety. But the success of the next military operation would turn increasing opposition and active response attacks. The hopelessness of continuing the war was trivial, but to stop it Babrak Karmal treated very negatively. Despite the ongoing efforts to clean the provinces of armed units of Mujahideen and planting of "people power" virtually controlled the only large town and patrolled the area around the airfields, military units and some roads. Map, which pilots are desirable places constrained landing and bailout tongued read about who actually owns the position.

It is perfectly beheld and Afghan pilots (on the "dry" flew 355 th Regiment, who was standing at Bagram) without interest the battle work. In the air they podymali very occasionally, in the main, so as not to lose the skills of piloting. According to the 1st of Russian advisers, the role of the elite Afghan army — pilots — in the fighting, "more like a circus, not a job." To be fair to say that they met in the middle and bold pilots, not inferior to the flight training of Russian pilots. This was the deputy commander of the Afghan Air Force, whose family cut the Mujahideen. His twice shot down, it was languishing injured, but continued to fly the Su-17 and many willingly.

If Afghan "comrades in arms" only bad waged war — it would be another half woes. Air Force senior ranks of government gave out details of upcoming opponent operations, and ordinary pilots, happened, flew into the adjacent Pakistan. June 13, 1985 the Mujahideen in Shindand, Afghanistan bribing airport security, undermined the government at sites 13 MiG-21 and Su-17, 6, seriously injuring a further 13 aircraft.

First Afghan armed opposition groups saga went abroad for the winter to rest and re-formation. Strain of fighting in this period is usually weakened. But by 1983, the opposition had created a huge amount of bases, which gave an opportunity to keep fighting every year. In the same year, the Mujahideen appeared and a new tool — man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), have changed the nature of the air war. Lightweight, highly mobile and they could hit planes at altitudes up to 1500 m MANPADS just brought in at least some area and were used not only to cover the base sites of armed groups, and to organize ambushes at airfields (before trial attacks on their limited fire from a distance). The drama of f
ate, the first MANPADS were "Strela-2" Russian production that came from Egypt. In 1984, it was noted 50 rockets, six of which have gained objectives: shot down three aircraft and three helicopters. Only downed "boom" right of Kabul in November 1984, IL-76 has assured command of the need to take into account the increased threat. By 1985, the number of air defense systems found in the exploration, increased by 2.5 times compared with 1983, and by the end of the year have increased by 70%. Total for 1985 identified 462 anti-aircraft gun point.

Su-17M4 has three explosive "pyatisotki" FAB-500M62
Scout Su-17 is the night photographing mountain plateau near the Zingaro Kabul backlit SAB. Flash at the top — the trail antiaircraft DShK

To overcome the growing danger in planning missions were selected by the ability of non-hazardous routes, the target was recommended to go to the fields not covered with anti-aircraft and carry out an attack during a short time. The flight to the target and back had to be done by different routes at altitudes of over 2,000 m, taking advantage of the terrain. In insecure areas pilots were instructed to look for the probability of launching the "arrows" (at this time all MANPADS called "arrows", though there are other types — South American "Red Eye" and the English "Bloupayp") and energetic maneuver to avoid hits, going in the direction of the sun or dense cloud cover. At the most unsafe parts of the flight — take-off and landing, when the aircraft had a little speed and lack of maneuverability, covered their helicopters patrolling the area around the airfield. MANPADS missiles were directed by the thermal radiation of aircraft engines, and losing them can be avoided with the help of massive heat — IR-traps with thermite consistency. Since 1985, they were equipped with every single type of aircraft and helicopters, were used in Afghanistan. The Su-17 had a range of improvements to install beams ASO-2V, each of which carried a squib to 32 PPI-26 (N-56). First established four beams above the fuselage, then 8, and, in the end, the number had increased to 12. In the fairing mounted behind the cab was still a massive 12 rounds of LO-43. In the area of air defense and offense during takeoff / landing pilot included automatic shooting trap, the highest combustion temperature which is draining self-guided "boom." To simplify the management of the pilot ACO soon was placed on the "fighting" button — at the start of missiles or dropped bombs over the defense to a protected machine started shooting PPI. Flight combat aircraft not equipped with pyrotechnic are not allowed.

Another method of protection against MANPADS was the inclusion of a shock force planes directors "umbrella" of the SAB, which are in themselves to have massive heat sources. From time to time this involved the Su-17, conducted additional exploration targets. Large thermal traps could be dropped from KMGU, then dealt a blow planes out on purpose, "ducking" under the parachutes slowly sink to the SAB. The measures taken have allowed markedly reduce the loss. In 1985, the compulsory landing due to combat injuries accounted for 4,605 hours of flying time. Compared with 1980, this figure has improved to 5.5 times. For the entire 1986 antiaircraft "got" only one of the Su-17M3, when the young pilot in a dive "dove" to 900 m and the bullet struck the ANC nozzle engine cowling.

Analysis of losses for 1985 showed that 12.5% of the aircraft were shot down with machine guns and light machine guns, 25% — by fire from the ANC, 37.5% — from fire and ZSU 25% — MANPADS. Reduce the loss could be forthcoming by the growth of the height of flights and the use of new types of ammunition. NAR massive salvo launch C-13 and languid NAR S-25 started with a range of up to .4 km, they were stable in flight, accurate and equipped with proximity fuses, improve their performance. However, the main defense was the departure of the enormous height (up to 3500-4000 m), who made use of the NAR little significance and the main type of weapon fighter-bombers were bombs.

In Afghanistan, for the first time in a combat situation were used volume-detonating bombs (Odaba) and warheads to missiles. The liquid substance such munitions on target dissipated in the air, and the resulting aerosol accumulation undermined by hitting the enemy in the red-hot shock wave bolshennom volume, with the largest effect was achieved in the explosion in the constrained criteria that retained power fiery ball. Specifically places — mountain gorges and caves — a refuge for armed groups. To put a bomb in inaccessible place, was applied to the nose-up bombing: the plane went up out of the reach of anti-aircraft fire, and bomb, describing a parabola, falling to the bottom of the gorge. Applied and special ammo types: for example, in the summer of 1988, the Su-17 from Mary fractures the rock to strengthen concrete-bombs. Guided bombs and missiles often used by attack aircraft Su-25 is more suitable for action against point targets.

Air raids were conducted not only the "skill", and "number". According to the professional staff of TurkVO arms since 1985 were dropped on Afghanistan every year more bombs than in all stateliness Russian war. Daily consumption of a bomb at Bagram Air Base was two cars. When saturated bombings that accompanied the conduct large transactions in the case of ammunition were right "on wheels", podvozimye from manufacturers. Especially when bolshennom their expense from the warehouses were brought TurkVO even preserved from the 30s bomb samples of old times. Modern aircraft bomb racks were not suitable for their suspension, and gunsmiths had, sweating later, manually adjust red-hot iron ears demolition bombs with saber saws and ratfiley.

One of the most stressful operations with extensive use of aircraft was held in December 1987 — January 1988 "Highway" to unblock the host. The fighting took place in the territories controlled by the tribe dzhadran, in any time not to recognize the king or shah nor the Kabul government. Bordering with Pakistan province of Paktia and Khost district were filled with the most modern weapon and massive fortifications. To identify them in the fortified areas paratroopers landed wrong and found myself firing points have caused massive air strikes. When the raids marked up to 60 rockets at the attacking aircraft per hour. With such a density of anti-aircraft fire the pilots have not yet had to face. In a large-scale operation involved 20,000 Russian fighter, the loss amounted to 24 killed and 56 of the wounded.

January 1989 Su-17M4R Scouts until the last days provided the withdrawal of troops from the DRA

The protracted war has waged for the sake of itself, consuming more energy and resources. The end of it was laid not by the military, and May 15, 1988 early withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan. To cover its airfields TurkVO pulled massive air forces. In addition to the front and army aviation — the Su-17, Su-25, MiG-27 and Su-24, for attacks on Afghanistan lured distant bombers Tu-22M3 aircraft. Problem was specific — to prevent the disruption of withdrawal, leaving columns and shelling attacks on the lens away. For this purpose, required to prevent the movement of armed groups
, to pluck them out on a lucrative position, apply pre-emptive attacks on their places of deployment, bring disorganization and demoralize the enemy.

On the efficiency of each flight "across the river" it was not walking — set tasks have been carried out to quantify, "rolling out" in the Afghan mountains of supplies from all over the district warehouses aviation supply depot. The bombing was carried out with great heights, as intelligence reports to illumine the opposition in 1988 there were already 692 MANPADS, 770 ZSU, 4050 ANC. The Su-17 that participated in the raids, was revised radio remote navigation (RSDN) allowing automatic access to the target and bombing. Accuracy of such impact was small, and in the summer of 1988 when one of the bombs attacks "covered" field headquarters Afghan Motorized Infantry Division.

The second step of the withdrawal began on 15 August. To avoid unnecessary casualties coming to the end of the war, decided to increment the intensity of the bombing of the expected areas of concentration of the Mujahideen and the constant blows to accompany the output columns, breaking the link between opposition groups and caravans with an instrument approach (and there are only seen in October was more than 100). To do this, have been used extensively nocturnal sorties in groups of 8,12,16 and 24 Su-17 with access to the area by RSDN at high altitude and holding Navigation (areal) bombing. Strikes throughout the night at various intervals, harrying the enemy and keeping it in a constant voltage close gaps massive bombs. Two flights per night and for the pilots became commonplace. In addition, the area was carried out night lighting along the roads by the SAB.

By the winter in particular has become a fundamental security in the area, linking Kabul to Hairatan on the Soviet-Afghan border. District of Southern Salang and Panjshir controlled units Ahmad Shah Massoud — "Panjshir Lion", a favorite of long-sighted and self-contained. Command of the 40th Army managed to agree with him about the unhindered passage of Russian columns, for which Lieutenant General Boris Gromov even offered Massoud "armed groups have Panjshir support upon request artillery and aircraft" in the fight against other groups. The truce frustrated Afghan government side who were constantly provocative attacks on villages along the road, causing the return fire. Avoid battles failed, and 23 — 24 January 1989 began the continuous air raids on South Salang and Jabal Ussardzh. Power bombing was such that the inhabitants of closely spaced Afghan villages left their homes and climb closer to the roads on which the boundary stretched trucks and military vehicles.

The withdrawal ended 15 February 1989. Earlier on Russian airfields from Bagram flew past Sioux 17M4R and ground assets taken on IL-76. But the "dry" were still in Afghanistan — the 355-th Afghan Regiment continued military actions on the Su-22. Deliveries of-the-art military equipment and ammunition with the departure of the government of Najibullah Russian troops even widened. The war continued, and in 1990 the decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR in Afghanistan were transferred to 54 combat aircraft, six helicopters and 150 tactical missiles, and a lot of other equipment. Pilots 355th Aviation Regiment there were still three years of fighting, loss, role in the failed revolt in March 1990 and the bombing of Kabul during the capture of his opposition forces in April 1992

The technician gets on board one more star, befitting 10 sorties. In some shelves Star "awarded" for the 25 missions
Su-17M4 at Bagram airfield. Under the wing — high-explosive bombs FAB-500M54, which have become by the end of the war the main ammunition used

1. Sioux 17M4R container comprehensive exploration KKR-half. The 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, who arrived in Afghanistan from Ekabpilsa (PribVO). Bagram Air Base, December 1988. Aircraft Regiment carried in the nose of the fuselage logo: Right bat, left the Indian.
2. Su-22M4, a cluster bomb RBK-500-375 of the 355 th Aviation Regiment Air Force in Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base, August 1988
3. Sioux 17MZR 139th Guards IBAP, who arrived from Borzi (ZabVO) at Shindand Air Base, Spring 1987
4. Su-17M3 136th IBAP, who arrived from Chirchik (TurkVO) at Kandahar Air Base, Summer 1986 Renovated part of the regiment had no aircraft identification symbols, and some have been applied without star border

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