MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The first stage of the Aviadarts-2018 competition to test the skills of military pilots has kicked off in aviation units and formations of Russia’s Aerospace Force, the Defense Ministry of Russia reported on Friday.
"The competition involves more than 250 pilots of tactical, long-range, military transport and army aviation units of the Aerospace Force and military districts. For the first time at this stage of the competition, about 30 military training ranges are involved for using aircraft weapons," the Defense Ministry said.
The competition involves the crews of Sukhoi Su-27SM3, Su-30SM, Su-35S and Mikoyan MiG 29SMT fighters, Su-24M and Su-34 bombers, Su-25 ground attack aircraft of various modifications, Ilyushin Il-76MD military transport planes, Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, Mil Mi-8, Mi-24, Mi-35, Mi-28N and Kamov Ka-52 helicopters.
"During the contest, the pilots will have to bypass an air defense system, conduct air reconnaissance, perform piloting elements and use aircraft weapons against ground targets. The first stage of the competition will last until the end of March," Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out.
The Aviadarts competition to assess the skills of flying crews is one of the first original contests of International Army Games regularly organized by Russia, along with the Tank Biathlon.
In 2013, the competition was held at the Pogonovo aircraft training range in the southern Voronezh Region and in 2014 the contest was attended for the first time by pilots from Belarus and China. In 2017, the final stage of the Aviadarts competition was held in China.