Russian Air Force plans to significantly upgrade its fleet


Andrei Frolov

Michael Drums

The biggest challenge to the Russian Air Force in 2008 was a great deal of technical backwardness caused by the fifteen-year "procurement holidays". In particular, for a long time, almost no new equipment is purchased. Deliveries of aircraft and helicopters dropped sharply in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and almost came to naught in 1994-1995-m, and in the 1990-2000-m individual purchases were made aircraft.

The main part of the aircraft and air defense systems by 2008 had (and still has) a great age. During the time that has elapsed since the termination of bulk supplies, equipment is physically and morally outdated, worn out. In general, the Russian Air Force as if time stood still at the level of the mid-80s. A major problem was the lack of modern aircraft armament and the expiration date, even many actual instances of airborne weapons.

Period 2000-2008

For example, in 2000-2008, the Air Force received one strategic bomber Tu-160 (another seven former Soviet Tu-160 and three Tu-95MS were received in 2000 from the Ukraine), three Sukhoi Su-34, 12 combat helicopters Mi-28N, two combat Ka-50 and about a dozen Mi-8 transport of various modifications.

In this case, cash machines (especially helicopters) was intensively used, including during both conflicts in Chechnya. The modernization of the aircraft fleet had been made, was limited even regular scheduled maintenance. Again in 2000-2008 failed to modernize 111 aircraft, of which about 50 — helicopters, but crucially it did not change the situation.


Thus, by 2008, despite the new supply, the average age of aircraft is at least 20-25 years, and it is rapidly becoming obsolete physically and mentally.

Was extremely critical (and largely still is) a position with modern weapons aviation. Russian tactical aircraft still does not have a serial number of such basic kinds of modern aircraft weapon, such as:

  • missiles "air-to-air" with an active radar guidance system;
  • guided bombs with satellite guidance system;
  • short-range high-precision cruise missiles.

No modern electro-optical containers clearly underdeveloped EW equipment. The very low level of operational and tactical training and technical equipment as a whole has been demonstrated in the Russian Air Force during the "five-day war" with Georgia in August 2008, which resulted in an excessive level of losses in the aircraft (five combat aircraft) in such a small campaign.

Equipment for the Air Force in the LG-2020

Modernization of the Air Force and the purchase of new aircraft have become a top priority of the State Armaments Program for 2011-2020 (GPV-2020), adopted on December 31, 2010-th. The total cost of this program for the Ministry of Defence — about 19 trillion rubles, including for the needs of the Air Force provided four trillion. In the framework of its plan to purchase all of the Armed Forces of Russia more than 600 aircraft and 1,100 helicopters.

Although the program is constantly adjusted, it is possible to draw the following conclusions about the plans for the purchase of military aircraft for the Russian Air Force in 2020.

The Long and military transport aircraft

For long-range aircraft are not provided the purchase of new bombers. This means in particular that has to JSC «Kazan Aircraft Production Association" more Soviet reserve for two or three strategic bomber Tu-160 use is planned. At the same time, provides limited funding for research and development as part of a new strategic bomber (PAK DA), which will have the result already beyond 2020. Finally, for the needs of the first long-range aircraft from 2015 onwards can purchase up to 30 tanker aircraft based on the Il-476.

Military transport aircraft is likely to become one of the main "beneficiaries" GPV-2020. Various interest groups from the Air Force and the aviation industry, "drags" on a wide range of Air Force military transport aircraft. Among them, today there are plans to purchase 20 heavy transport aircraft An-124 (after 2015), 39 transport Il-76MD-90A (also known as IL-476 from 2014), 60 transport An-70 (from 2015) up to 50 transport vehicles MTA (status unclear), up to 20 passenger An-148 (status is uncertain), 11 lung AN-140 (two delivered in 2011-2012, and the rest are contracted), and 30 Czech-made light aircraft L-410UVP ( seven have been delivered in 2011-2012). Also announced its intention to order multiple AWACS aircraft and the A-100, which are under development. Purchased and three passenger Tu-154M. In the field of special purpose aircraft will be purchased two surveillance aircraft Tu-204ON and at least two cars of complex intelligence Tu-204R.

The question remains with a light military transport aircraft program after the actual closing of the Il-112V, but as far as we can judge, Air Force plans to launch a tender for the purchase of up to 100 of these machines.

Tactical (Frontline) aviation

Announced the purchase of tactical (front) aircraft are also varied and extensive. The basic platform will be purchased fighter of the fifth generation fighter T-50 (PAK FA). Planned construction of 14 experienced and pre-production samples of the T-50 and the purchase of 60 production aircraft (estimated in 2016). As an insurance and a cheaper alternative to the program of T-50 Air Force to buy fighter of "4 + +" Su-35S — contracted 48 aircraft (four delivered in 2011-2012), followed by further possible purchase of 48 or 72 Su-35s.


Along with them are purchased and "Russified" version of the export Su-30MKI fighters (Su-30MKM), a derivation of the Russian Su-received index 30cm. Air Force has contracted 30 aircraft (the first two were put in 2012), in the future can be delivered before 30 cars. In 2010-2011, the Air Force received four Su-30M2 and Su-12 27SM3 made of Su-27/Su-30 groundwork for export, but the new supply, apparently, is not provided.

The most widespread procured under the LG-2020 aircraft will be the front-line bomber Su-34. Already contracted for 129 vehicles, of which 15 are transferred to the customer. And maybe even purchase a minimum of 18 cars. Finally, mention should be made on plans for 12 Su-25UBM.

Actively bought jet trainer aircraft Yak-130 — by the middle of October 2012 received 18 production vehicles ordered and is in production yet 49, can be purchased for at least another 10. For the initial training of pilots is not excluded acquisition of domestic piston aircraft Yak-152 turboprop or imported.

Army aviation

Actively conducting procurement and contracting helicopters. However, this issue has not escaped the traditional Russian Armed Forces raznotipitsy, bringing the troops received three different samples attack helicopter. So, it was after 2008 there has been a sharp turn from the monopoly actually Mi-28N, which planned to buy up to 300 units, and unit acquisitions Ka-50 from the reserve and 12 Ka-52 "for special forces" to the dominance of the Ka-52.

If the Mi-28N so far contracted in the amount of 167 series helicopter (of which in 2008 supplied approximately 45 cars), the Ka-52 entered service in the Air Force a quantity of 180 units, and that does not include an order for the Navy. It seems that the change of leadership due to the higher degree of bringing the Ka-52 and the impossibility of a "Rostvertol" Air Force perform the entire order at the appropriate time with the upcoming major export contracts for the Mi-28E. However, by analogy with the state of fighter aircra
ft, these two programs to hedge the purchase of Mi-35M (another derivation of Mi-24), which contracted in the amount of 49 machines, of which in 2011 delivered no less than 10.

Significant efforts are being made to upgrade the transport helicopter fleet. In large quantities are purchased heavy transport Mi-26 contracted in the amount of 38 units (with 2011 delivered six). In general, can purchase up to 60 of these helicopters. Remains the best-selling Mi-8 different versions — all expected to purchase up to 500 cars, with 2011 purchases are conducted rate of up to 50 units per year. It is known that only the JSC "Kazan Helicopter Plant" has a contract from the Ministry of Defence for the supply of up to 150 Mi-8 MTV different modifications in the period 2011-2020, it is clear that some of the same order will be posted at the JSC "Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant" and is likely to be followed by new contracts.

In large quantities supposed to buy and light helicopters. Thus, the planned acquisition of 36 Ka-226 (already received six), and 70 "ANSAT-U" (since 2009 delivered 16, 2018 contracted 32 helicopter), and up to 100 cars Ka-62 (an updated version). It is in this segment will be most clearly presented import samples as possible purchase of up to 100 or even 200 units (most likely manufactured by Eurocopter), mainly teaching.


Despite extensive purchases of new equipment, the Air Force do not give up the modernization of the existing fleet of aircraft. She will undergo virtually all types of standing armed combat and transport vehicles. The modernization will take place on 14-16 of the Tu-160 (rate of two per year starting from 2012), and 30 strategic bombers Tu-95MS bombers, and 30 Tu-22M3. Must be converted An-20 aircraft and 41 124 military transport aircraft Il-76 (a variant of IL-76MDM).

Continued modernization of bombers and reconnaissance aircraft Su-24M and Su-24MR of at least 100 (Upgraded at least 50), and about a dozen reconnaissance aircraft MiG-25RB. It is known that in 2003-2008 converted 55 Su-27 Su-27SM variant, it is believed that there are prospects for further improvement of a number of machines. Continued modernization of MiG-31 interceptors to the MiG-31BM (and its improved version), the total number of them will reach 120 units (by the end of 2012 will be improved at least 25 cars). Undergo modernization and Su-25 — a variant of the Su-25SM, whose total number will reach 120 units (upgraded at least 50). Known about the program of modernization of the fleet and have AWACS A-50 (a modification of the A-50U) — the number of advanced machinery to reach 12 units (the first A-50U has adopted the Air Force).

Plans to modernize its fleet of MiG-29 is not made public, most likely it will not be made.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

This, along with the procurement of manned aircraft are likely to be acquired and UAVs. Is known today about the draft assembly of the Israeli tactical UAVs (since 2012), the acquisition and assembly of Israeli MALE-UAV (before 2013), as well as the creation and production of a wide range of UAVs with a takeoff weight of one to five tons (no earlier than 2015 year) and the creation of shock jet UAV (not before 2018).

Air Defense Forces

Today voiced plans provides for the purchase 56 battalions of S-400, 10 battalions of S-500 air defense missile systems division 38 "Vityaz-defense", the three battalions of S-300VM4, an unnamed number of promising AAMS "Morpheus" and up to 120 combat vehicles ZRPK " carapace-C. " Undergo modernization at the S-300PM and S-300B.

Air Force 2020

The composition of the Russian Air Force in 2020 on an optimistic scenario will consist of not less than one thousand combat aircraft (see table).

Weaknesses-term plans

As can be seen from the above plans, the Russian Air Force in 2020 will be very different from the Air Force in 2012. Significantly increase the proportion of new technology and it is obvious that the integral air force capabilities greatly enhanced.

At the same time, attention is drawn to the lack of (which is likely to remain for a long time) or complete absence of a number of categories (so far) of modern airborne weapons, especially missiles "air-to-air" with the active radar-guided "smart" bombs and missiles with satellite correction, as well as small Brimstone missiles or JAGM. The weakest element of the plan looks promising projects on the feasibility of creating and enacting the various classes of UAVs, especially the big ones.

There is a lack of flue many new types of modern aircraft, which probably will remain for a long time that has the potential to jeopardize the feasibility of plans to purchase a specific number of aircraft is 2020. Challenges for perspective shape the Air Force will be a significant number of types of engines were in service of aircraft and helicopters.

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