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Post-Soviet bloc’s first-ever Air Bridge-2018 drills kick off in Russia

October 01, 15:30 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG

At the joint command center in Yekaterinburg the CSTO air forces’ representatives will practice joint operations to control the air traffic of the bloc's member-states

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© Valery Matitsyn/TASS

YEKATERINBURG, October 1. /TASS/. The Collective Security Organization’s first-ever joint air exercise Vozdushny Most-2018 (Air Bridge-2018) has begun in Yekaterinburg. It will be held in the Central Military District till October 14, with the CSTO member-states - Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - taking part.

"We are holding the Air Bridge-2018 exercise for the first time. The CSTO member states’ transport planes will airlift large mobile contingents. A total of 3,500 troops and 620 pieces of military equipment will be transported," the Central Military District’s commander, Lieutenant-General Alexander Lapin, said at the opening ceremony.

A unified system of control to command CSTO air force and air defense groups had been created with reliance on integrated and combined automated control systems, such as Polyana-D4M1 and Bastion.

At the joint command center in Yekaterinburg the CSTO air forces’ representatives will practice joint operations to control the air traffic of CSTO member-states, airlift troop contingents and materiel to the sites of combat training missions in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Russia. As the Central Military District’s press-service said, the command center will have a staff of 140.

"I would like to point out that this exercise is being held within the framework of another one, Boyevoye Bratstvo-2018 (Combat Brotherhood-2018), underway in the Central Asian Region. Before, such exercises never involved the air component. This time transport planes will be used - Ilyushin-76, C-295 and Antonov-26," the deputy chief of the CSTO unified command, Lieutenant-General Nurlan Ormanbetov, said on Monday.

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