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Tested by War: What Planes Will Soon Enter Service at Russian Aerospace Forces

© Sputnik / Dmitry Vinogradov / Go to the mediabankA Su-34 multipurpose strike bomber of the Russian Aerospace Force takes off from the Hmeymim Air Base in the Syrian province of Latakia.File photo
A Su-34 multipurpose strike bomber of the Russian Aerospace Force takes off from the Hmeymim Air Base in the Syrian province of Latakia.File photo - Sputnik International
Russia's Aerospace Forces will receive more than 100 state-of-the-art planes and helicopters in 2018, according to Aerospace Forces Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev.

MiG-31 long-range fighter-interceptors at the Sokol Aircraft Building Plant in Nizhny Novgorod. File photo - Sputnik International
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Speaking at the MAKS 2017 air show in Zhukovsky late last week, Russian Aerospace Forces Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said that the country's aerospace forces are due to get more than 100 state-of-the-art planes and helicopters in 2018.

"We will receive no fewer [planes and helicopters] in 2018 than we got this year. More than a hundred new vehicles plus modernization and overhaul of those that are currently in service. Everyone knows perfectly well that the world today is moving along the path of development of the aerospace component which includes new technologies and developments," Bondarev said.

He added that "at the end of the day, all this will affect the development of [the country's] national economy and industry."

Tactical Level

Right now, the Russian Aerospace Forces include about 3,800 different types of aircraft, as well as around 1,400 multipurpose, strike and transport helicopters.

"One can safely say that Russia's fleet of operational and tactical aviation will be upgraded in line with the planned threshold of 80-90 percent," Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Sputnik, citing the Su-30SM and the Su-35S fighter jets, as well as the new MiG-35 fighters and the Su-34 frontline bombers.

"The fifth generation T-50 PAK FA fighter jet is expected to be put in serial production before 2020. Positive dynamics are in place in the army aviation, which receives dozens of the new Mi-28N, the Mi-35 and the Ka-52 combat helicopters, as well as modern modifications of the Mi-8 helicopter," Murakhovsky said.

© Sputnik / Georgiy Zimarev / Go to the mediabankSu-30SM
Su-30SM  - Sputnik International

In 2018, the Russian Aerospace Forces are due to receive about 30 Su-30SM multipurpose fighters, around 20 super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets and 16 Su-34 frontline fighter-bombers.

© Sputnik / Mikhail VoskresenskiyThe Ka-52 equipped with the Vitebsk electronic warfare system. File photo
The Ka-52 equipped with the Vitebsk electronic warfare system. File photo  - Sputnik International
The Ka-52 equipped with the Vitebsk electronic warfare system. File photo

All these aircraft have confirmed their advanced characteristics in combat conditions of the Syrian air campaign, which is why experts are upbeat about these warplanes being part of the Russian Aerospace Forces, according to Murakhovsky.

Strategic Level

Russia's long-range and strategic aviation will not receive principally new planes in 2018.

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However, it was reported that in 2018, the Russian aerospace and defense company Tupolev plans to present the first modernized supersonic bomber Tu-22M3M, based on the Soviet Tu-22M4 project.

The Tu-22M3M will be able to carry air-to-surface X-32 cruise missiles, a deep upgrade of the older X-22 missiles. The bomber is equipped with a more powerful engine and a noise-proof radar-inertial guidance system.

The X-32 missile could hit a target at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers, which would allow the Tu-22M3M to launch it without entering an enemy's air defense zone.

The Russian strategic bomber Tu-160 is also being modernized, with the first prototype of the Tu-160M2 due to appear in 2019. It was reported that the new aircraft will be the basis of the air component of the Russian "nuclear triad" and will remain its part until 2030.

In an interview with Radio Sputnik, the deputy editor-in-chief of Aviapanorama journal and a former air force pilot, Vladimir Popov, said that the Tu-160M2  will essentially be a new plane.

"Even though on the outside it looks much like its predecessor, the Tu-160MS2 will be a whole new aircraft with a new fire control and navigation gear, an advance system of electronic jamming, a new cockpit and more fuel-saving engines. Everything possible is being done to extend its supersonic ability. This is the bottom line of the current overhaul," Popov said.

The Tu-160MS2 will be powered by upgraded engines with better endurance characteristics, which adds to the new bomber's range, increasing it by 1,000 kilometers (621miles) as compared with the existing version.

A Brand-New "Night Hunter"

According to Viktor Bondarev, in 2018, an upgraded version of the Mi-28NM "Night Hunter" attack helicopter will be put into service at the Russian Aerospace Forces.

Russia's Mi-28 helicopter flies over the environs of Ancient Palmyra in Homs Governorate, Syria. File photo - Sputnik International
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The new helicopter will receive modern onboard avionics equipment, a duplicated control system, thanks to which a navigator-operator will be able to take control of the vehicle.

Additionally, the helicopter will be equipped with new blades, a motor with increased characteristics, electronic warfare systems and, most importantly, a H025 radar station capable of providing circular detection of targets.

In addition, the radar will assume the function of guiding the missiles equipped with a radio command system. Previously, this task was performed by the specific green "nose" of the Mi-28N, which in the new modification will be significantly shorter.

Last week, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said that the Russian Defense Ministry is planning to buy around 15 medium multipurpose Mi-38 helicopters.

"We are, without doubt, interested in this machine. A purchase of around 15 Mi-38 helicopters is envisaged," Borisov told reporters at the MAKS 2017 air show.

© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov / Go to the mediabankMi-38-2 Helicopter, MAKS-2017 internatonal airshow in Zhukovsky
Mi-38-2 Helicopter, MAKS-2017 internatonal airshow in Zhukovsky - Sputnik International
Mi-38-2 Helicopter, MAKS-2017 internatonal airshow in Zhukovsky

Made of composite materials, the Mi-38 can carry both cargo and passengers, and can be used in search-and-rescue missions and as a flying hospital, as well as for offshore operations.

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The helicopter is designed to operate in a wide range of climates, including maritime, tropical and cold environments. The first Mi-38 is expected to be delivered to the military in 2018, and a total of 15 such helicopters will be in service at the Russian Aerospace Forces by 2020.

According to Murakhovsky, in terms of the production of operational-tactical and army planes, Russia managed to resolve the issue of import substitution almost completely."

"Five years ago, we seriously depended on helicopter engines produced by the Ukrainian concern, Motor Sich. However, the United Engine Corporation managed to fully organize its own production in Russia within a three-year period. The same can be said about the production of engines for many cruise missiles," he said.

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