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Russia plans to build naval pilot training center on Azov Sea

SEVASTOPOL, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is planning to construct a naval pilot training facility on the Azov Sea coast in southern Russia, the Navy commander said Thursday.

"We are planning to start construction of a naval pilot training center outside the city of Eisk on the Azov Sea," Admiral Vladimir Masorin said.

The Navy commander said the new facility was necessary to ensure consistent training of naval pilots for an air wing based on board the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia's only operational aircraft carrier, which was commissioned in the early 1990s and has recently re-entered service with the Northern Fleet after a prolonged overhaul.

Masorin also said Russia is planning to start developing a new modern aircraft carrier in the near future to ensure its construction after 2015.

At present, Russia uses a naval pilot training center on the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine, as the only training facility for its naval pilots.

The center, known as Nitka, was built in the Soviet era for aircraft pilots to practice their skills in taking off from and landing on an aircraft carrier's deck.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in early 1990s, the facilty remained under the Ukrainian jurisdiction. Ukrainian Navy does not have aircraft carriers.

The Nitka center provides naval aviation training facilities such as a launch pad, an aerofinisher, a trampoline, a catapult launching device, steam power installations, a glide-path localizer, a marker beacon, and an optical landing system.

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