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ASHULUK RANGE (Astrakhan Region), April 1. /TASS/. Russia’s Mikoyan MiG-31 fighter-interceptors have staged an air combat with MiG-29 fighter jets in the skies over the Astrakhan Region in south Russia as part of joint tactical exercises, a pilot involved in the drills told TASS on Friday.
"An air combat of MiG-31 BM aircraft is a major battle drill for aviation. MiG-29 acted as a notional enemy to imitate an attack on an air base. All the fighter jets used the Privolzhsky airfield [in the Astrakhan Region in south Russia] for their take-off and then the notional enemies met in the skies at an altitude of 7,000-8,000 meters over the Ashuluk practice range," MiG-31 BM pilot Vladimir Surzhik told TASS.
The air combat involved 12 fighter jets: six MiG-31 BM supersonic fighter-interceptors and six fourth-generation MiG-29 fighter jets.
"This was the combat to test the pilots’ and pilot navigators’ skills. All the interceptors were assigned the task to work in tandem. The results of the air combat will be determined by objective control video recording from monitors and target indicator means. An objective control squad will evaluate the actions of each fighter jet," Surzhik said.
The drills are taking place as part of the Central Military District’s joint military exercises in the Astrakhan Region, to which a fighter aviation, anti-aircraft missile and radio-technical regiments have been re-deployed.
An active phase of the drills has started at the Ashuluk practice range and the Privolzhsky aerodrome since March 29 to practice field firing, an air combat and the interception of a notional enemy’s signals.
The exercises involve over 400 servicemen, 160 pieces of military hardware, including seven MiG-31 fighter jets, eight S-300 PS air defense missile systems and Moskva new electronic warfare complexes.