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Russian Air Force crews start redeployment to Arctic areas

March 17, 2015, 17:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
After the redeployment the pilots will drill landing operations, air cover of the Ground Force units and launching a strike on ground targets with the use of missile-bomb and aircraft guns
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Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters

Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters

© ITAR-TASS/Yury Smityuk

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. About 30 army aviation crews of the Western Military District have started redeployment on Tuesday within a snap check of combat readiness of the Northern Fleet and separate groupings of the Western Military District and Airborne Force units.

They are being redeployed from airfields in the Leningrad and Smolensk regions to a military airfield in the Arctic, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"During the flight the crews of the Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters will cover a distance of more than 1,500 km with a stopover for refuelling in Karelia," the ministry said. "The redeployment of the army aviation units is conducted in the flight formation of squadrons. During the flight the crews drill piloting techniques within wings and nap-of-the-earth flights."

After the redeployment the pilots will drill landing operations, air cover of the Ground Force units, launching a strike on ground targets with the use of missile-bomb and aircraft guns, as well as search and rescue operations with the evacuation of the injured.

In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, Vladimir Putin, a surprise inspection of the Northern Fleet and separate formations of the Western Military District is conducted in the period from March 16 to 21. The snap check involves some 38,000 troops, 3,360 units of military equipment, 41 warships, 15 submarines, 110 warplanes and helicopters.

This is not the first large-scale inspection of the Armed Forces’ combat readiness. Since the beginning of the year, inspections have been conducted in the Western, Central and Eastern Military District, including with large-scale exercises involving the newest serial military equipment of the forward strike forces. The drills include the mobilization of reservists, checks of operational readiness of the aerospace forces, special task forces, groupings of all service arms, the Air Force, as well as the surface and submarine fleet.

Before the current Air Force manoeuvres, tactical flight exercises were held in February 2015 — crews of the attack helicopters Mi-28N "Night Hunter," Mi-35 "Crocodile," Mi-8AMTSh "Terminator" transport and attack helicopters conducted tactical flight training at a Krasnodar region range. Also, the Ladoga-2015 exercise, involving about 30 Sukhoi Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter jets was conducted at military airfields of the North-Western and Central Federal Districts of Russia.

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