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Russian fighter aviation holds drills in skies over Armenia

The military pilots operated in air pairs to perform simple and complex aerobatic maneuvers in the mountains in adverse weather conditions

ROSTOV-ON-DON, December 23. /TASS/. The crews of MiG-29 fighters of Russia’s Erebuni Air Base intercepted notional enemy targets in the skies over Armenia during drills, the press office of the Southern Military District reported on Thursday.

"The crews of MiG-29 fighters of the Southern Military District’s Erebuni Air Base stationed in Armenia intercepted the mock enemy’s aerial targets during training flights," the press office said in a statement.

Intercepted targets simulated the enemy aircraft during the drills, it specified.

The military pilots operated in air pairs to perform simple and complex aerobatic maneuvers in the mountains in adverse weather conditions. The pilots also practiced measures to compel intruder aircraft to make a forced landing, the statement says.

In 2021, the pilots of MiG-29 fighters of the Russian Air Base in Armenia conducted over 1,200 training and combat training flights, employing the aircraft armaments both in tactical drills and combat alert missions, the press office specified.

Russia’s Air Base in Armenia

After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia and the Republic of Armenia signed an agreement on August 21, 1992, on the Russian troops stationing on Armenian soil. On September 1, 1994, the Russian 102nd military base was set up in Armenia with its units stationed in Gyumri and Erebuni. Russia pays no rent for its military base in Armenia. The base’s legal status is based on the Russia-Armenia interstate agreement with an option of its further prolongation. The current agreement is valid through 2044. The Russian 102nd military base in Armenia has about 5,000 personnel.

The Russian military base in Armenia is subordinate to Russia’s Southern Military District. It is Russia’s sole military base in the South Caucasus and is part of the joint Russia-Armenia group of forces. The base is intended to protect the integrity of the CIS borders and safeguard Russia’s interests in the region.

The military base’s air task force is stationed at the Erebuni airfield near Yerevan. Initially, the 426th aviation group had been stationed there since 1995 and in November 1998 the 520th aviation commandant’s office was added to it. At that time, Russian MiG-29 multirole fighters were redeployed to the Air Base. In July 2001, the 3624th Air Base was set up to integrate the aviation units stationed at the Erebuni airfield. The Air Base operates MiG-29 and upgraded MiG-29S multirole fighters, MiG-29UB combat training aircraft, Su-30SM multirole fighters, Mi-8MT transport helicopters, and Mi-24P gunships as its available and planned fixed-and rotary-wing aircraft.