ZHUKOVSKY, August 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Air Force servicemen and veterans on the Air Force's 100th anniversary. It will be marked on August 12.
The president, addressing those who gathered on the airfield in Zhukovsky, a site of an air show marking the jubilee, spoke about the Air Force's glorious history, noting that it was a chronicle of feats of pioneers. The country will never forget the courage of aviators of World War II, who contributed greatly to the Victory. The president also said about the heroism of pilots in Afghanistan and other "hot spots".
Speaking about the present situation, Putin said that intensive combat training of air units was proceeding, and the strategic force resumed regular missions. Modernization of the ground and aerodrome infrastructure is underway. New airbases are set up, and multi-purpose air groups are formed.
Domestic aviation capacities will be enhanced for the Air Force to be ready to carry out tasks of any difficulty. First of all, latest aircraft will be provided. More than 600 new planes and a thousand new helicopters will be in service by 2020, not counting modernized systems, Putin noted.
A special emphasis will be placed on the development of promising air complexes of long-range, operation-tactical and army aircraft, introduction of precision-guided weapons, means of radio electronic fight and unmanned combat and reconnaissance air systems, he said.
Much attention will be paid to social guarantees for aviators, Air Force veterans and members of their families, the president assured.