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UKRAI NI AN

Ex er ci s ePer s pect i ve

Hel dbet ween17and29S ept ember ,Exer ci s ePer s pect i ve2012br ought t oget hert heUkr ai ni anmi l i t ar y’ smi ghti nas er i esofs cenar i osdes i gned t o t r ai n, t es t and f ul f i ll i ve f i r i ng cur r ency r equi r ement s of bot h gr oundbas ed and ai r bor net act i calpl at f or ms .St eveComberr epor t s f r om Bel beknearS evas t apol ,f r om wher e a numberofMi G29sand S u27soper at ed.


N AI R FORCE

e2012

Wor dsandPi ct ur es ST EVECOMBER F ol l owi ng t he br eakup oft he S ovi etUni on i n Augus t1991,Ukr ai nei nher i t edamas s i ve780, 000 s t r ongmi l i t ar yf or ce,al ongwi t ht het hi r dl ar ges t nucl earweaponsar s enal i nt hewor l d.L at ert he f ol l owi ng years t epswer et aken t o become a nucl ear f r ees t at e,wi t ht hepr oces scompl et ed by1996.

Att het i meoft heS ovi etdi s s ol ut i on,s ubs t ant i al quant i t i es ofai r cr af twer e es s ent i al l yl ef ton Ukr ai ni an s oi l ,and t he Ukr ai ni an Ai rF or ce was f or mal l y es t abl i s hed on 17 Mar ch 1992, headquar t er ed i n Vi nnyt s i a, whi ch had pr evi ous l ybeent hehomeoft he24t hAi rAr myof t heS ovi etAi rF or ce.


Ex ampl esoft heS u27S( l ef t )andt heS u27UB

Among t he ai r cr af tt ypes i t acqui r ed wer e T upol ev T u22M ‘ Backf i r es ’ ,T u95 ‘ Bear s ’and T u160‘ Bl ackj acks ’ ;al l s t r at egi cbomber s .I nl i ne wi t hi t spol i cyofr educi ng t he s i z e ofi t sar med f or ces ,i nt er msofbot h number sofper s onnel and as s et s ,t he count r yel ect ed t o gi ve up i t s s t r at egi c bomber s ,whi ch have ei t herbeen r et ur ned t o Rus s i a,br oken up orpl aced on di s pl ay i n mus eums . T he emphas i sf ort he Ukr ai ni an Ai rF or ce i snow ver ymuch wi t ht he pr ot ect i onofi t sownai r s pace. T hes avi ngsmadepos s i bl ebyt hedowns i z i ng,as wel lasa r es t r uct ur i ng ofi t shi er ar chyai med at r educi ng t he amount of dupl i cat i on i n commandandcont r ol l evel s ,haveal l owedt he Ukr ai ni anAi rF or ce t o moder ni s e ani ncr eas i ng pr opor t i onoft heas s et si thasavai l abl eand t o i mpr ovet hewayi tt r ai nsi t sper s onnel .

As i ngl es eatMi G29t ax i esoutcar r yi ngwhat


Bar epi ct ur edbehi ndapai rofAA10AL AMO ai r t oai rmi s s i l es .

tappear st obef ourVympel R73/ AA11ARCHERai r t oai rmi s s i l es .


An i mpr es s i ve l i neup ofS u27S and S u27UB nos esandcanopi esont heBel bekf l i ght l i ne.

A pai rofMi G29sl eavet hei rdi s t i nct i vemar ki n t hes kyast heydepar tBel bekatt hes t ar tofan Ex er ci s ePer s pect i vemi s s i on.


Adaz z l i ngar r ayofcol our sast hi sS u27UBut i l i s esi t sbr akechut et os l ow downont heBel bekr unway.

T hi sMi G29i sbat hedi nbeaut i f ul l i ghtasi tt ax i es outf oranot hermi s s i onast hes uns et s .

A cons i der abl yl es s vi br ant col our s cheme i s car r i edbyt hi sS u27S .


Above-Adel i ght f u car r i ed by t hi s depar t i ngwi t hcl e

T op r i ght-T he i n f l i ght oper at i ons oppor t uni t yf oral t hei rs ki l l s .

Ri ght-An S u27S af t eranot herEx e 2012mi s s i on.

L ef t - T he Ukr a oper at es28 An26 t r ans por tr ol esi nc ki t t edoutasf l yi ng


t f ul col our s chemei s s Mi G29UB, s een l eanpyl ons .

i nt ens i ve t empo of s pr ovi de ampl e al lpar t i est o hone

Si st ur ned ar ound x er ci s e Per s pect i ve

r ai ni an Ai rF or ce 26si n a var i et y of ncl udi ng a number ghos pi t al s .

T heUkr ai ni anmi l i t ar yasawhol enow r egul ar l ypar t i ci pat esi nmul t i nat i onal oper at i onsand,att he2008Buchar es tS ummi t ,NAT O decl ar edt hat“Ukr ai ne wi l lbecome a memberofNAT O wheneveri twant sand when i twoul d cor r es pond t ot he cr i t er i af ort he acces s i on. ” Cur r entUkr ai ni an pr es i dent Vi kt orYanukovych,however ,bel i evest hathi scount r y’ spr es entl evelof i nt egr at i onwi t hNAT Oi ss uf f i ci ent .


T hi sS u27UBpas s est hr ought hes unasi tdepar t sBel bekatt hes t ar tofanot hermi s s i on di f f er entvar i ant soft heAA10AL AMO ai r t oai rmi s s i l e.

T heUkr ai ni anAi rF or ceof2012i sbel i evedt o haves ome49, 000per s onnel ( wi t ht heover al l s i z e of t he mi l i t ar yr educed t o 300, 000 f ol l owi ngas wi t chf r om acons cr i pt i onbas ed s ys t em t ot hatofa vol unt eerf or ce)and ar ound 450f i x ed and r ot ar ywi nged ai r cr af t avai l abl et oi t ,al t hough s omewher ei nt he r egi onof250addi t i onalai r f r ames( a mi xof Mi G29‘ F ul cr ums ’ ,S u24‘ F encer s ’andS u27 ‘ F l anker s ’ )ar ehel di nar es er ves t at e. S o,wecomet oBel beki nS ept emberoft hi s

yearandEx er ci s ePer s pect i ve2012. Over s eenbyDeput yCommanderoft he Ai r F or ce oft he Ar med F or cesofUkr ai ne f or Avi at i on -Avi at i on Ai rF or ce chi efL t .Gen. Vas ylNi ki f or ov,Bel bek hos t ed ai r cr af tand f l i ghtcr ewsf r om var i ousf i ght eruni t soft he Ukr ai ni anAi rF or ce.Whi l s tpr es ent ,t hecr ews woul df i r el i ve mi s s i l esand us et he ai r cr af t ’ s gunagai ns tt heS AB250200‘ l i ght i ngbomb’ . Or di nar i l yus ed t oi l l umi nat ea l ar ge ar ea at ni ght ,t heS AB250200i scar r i edont her ai l sof


i on.I nt er es t i ngl y,i tappear st obecar r yi ngt wo

a par entai r cr af tbef or ebei ng r el eas ed.T he wel deds hel l hous ess evenf l ar espr oduci ngat l eas t8. 19 mi l l i on candl es ofl i ghtand t he 10. 5m s quar ed par achut e canopyat t ached t ot hes hel l ens ur esas i gni f i cant‘ hangt i me’i n t he s ky. T he f l ar eswi l lbur nf oratl eas ts i x mi nut esandpr ovi deaper f ectheats our cef or us eagai ns theat s eeki ngai r t oai rmi s s i l es ,t hus maki ng t hem t he i dealt ar getf orEx er ci s e Per s pect i vemi s s i ons .

Above-Acl eanMi G29get sai r bor nei nper f ect condi t i ons .

Above-T hi sS u27St ax i esbackaf t ercompl et i ng a mi s s i on. Not et he open t ai lcone on t he ‘ boom’on t he l ef ts i de oft he pi ct ur et hat hous est hebr akechut e.

Above-Beaut i f ulgol denl i ghtast hi sMi G29UB get spr epar edf orani ght t i mes or t i e.


I ncr edi bl econdi t i onsast hi sS u27UBf r om t he831s tT act i cal Avi at i onBr i gade,bas edatMyr hor od,cl i mb


bsi nt ot hebl ue,ar medwi t hf ourl i veAA10AL AMO r ounds .

Ar ound 15 Mi G29s and S u27s wer e us ed i n t he ex er ci s e and t he 40+ par t i ci pat i ng pi l ot s per f or med t enmi s s i l ef i r i ngs each, wi t h many of t he mi s s i onst aki ngpl aceatt he Chauda Res ear ch and T es t i ng Cent er and i ncl uded l aunches of gr oundbas ed ant i ai r cr af t mi s s i l esagai ns tBP3‘ F l i ght ’ UAVs . Ofcour s e,i t ’ snotonl yt he f l i ght cr ews who der i ve benef i t f r om t hes e ex er ci s es . A mi s s i on s cenar i owasdevi s ed each day, f or i ns t ance, 26 S ept ember s aw 120 ‘ enemy’ s ol di er s i l l egal l y cr os st he bor deri nt ot he count r y, pr ompt i ng t he mobi l i s at i on ofgr ound and ai r bor ne f or ces , wi t h Mi l Mi 24 ‘ Hi nds ’ oper at i ng al ongs i det heF ul cr umsand F l anker s . Des pi t et he bes t ef f or t s of t he ‘ enemy’ t o evade capt ur e,t hey wer e s ucces s f ul l y neut r al i s ed by t hegr oundf or ces . L at er i n t he ex er ci s e, an I l yus hi nI l 76MD wasus ed t o par achut e t r oops and i nf ant r y f i ght i ng vehi cl es i nt o t he ‘ war z one’ ( Novomos kovs kyi T r ai ni ng Range) ,t hef i r s tt i mes ucha del i ver ymet hod had been empl oyed byt he Ukr ai ni an Ai rF or cef ort enyear s .T he oper at i onwass uppor t edby apai rofS u27s .


Bl ue41,t heonl y now asr ef ur bi s he

Bymaki ng t hes es cenar i osasr ealaspos s i bl e,i ti shoped t hatever ybody t aki ng par twi l lcome awayf arbet t erpr epar ed,s houl dt he t heor yever needt obecomear eal i t y,t hant heywoul dhavebeenpr evi ous l y.Mi s s i ons need pl anni ng and cont r ol l i ng, ai r cr af t mai nt enance needs t o be per f or med,l i veweaponsneed t obehandl ed cor r ect l y,communi cat i ons needt obees t abl i s hedbet weenai r bor neas s et sandt r oopsont hegr ound et c. Ever yf acetofmoder ndaymi l i t ar yoper at i onsi sex ami ned and a muchmor ecohes i veandef f ect i vepackagei sas s embl edasar es ul t .


l yS u27t aki ngpar ti nt heex er ci s ei n' L egacycamouf l agecol our s ' .F ew ai r cr af tr emai ni nt hi ss cheme hedai r cr af tar r i vei ns er vi ce.


Eas i l ys eenont hepyl onsoft hi sMi G29UBar et woex ampl esoft heS AB250200‘ l i g f i r i ngofai r t oai rmi s s i l es .

L ef t-T hi sS u27UB bl as t saway f r om t he Bel bek r unwaycar r yi ng f ourl i ve AA10 AL AMO ai r t oai r mi s s i l es .

Ri ght-Anot herMi G29UB wai t spat i ent l y on t he r ampatBel bek,l oadedupwi t hf ourS AB250200s .


‘ l i ght i ngbombs ’us edast ar get sdur i ngt hel i ve

Above-Res t i ngont her ampbet weenmi s s i ons , t hi sS u27S .

Above-Bel beki spos i t i onedr i ghtont hewes t er l y f aci ng Bl ack S ea coas t ,maki ng i tan i deal l ocat i onf orcapt i vat i ngi mager y.

Above - A s i ngl es eat S u27S t ax i es out f or anot herl i vef i r i ngmi s s i on.


T hebr aki ngchut e gr eat .

Above-T hi sS u27UBt ax i esbackwi t hal l baroner ai l empt y.

Ex er ci s e Per s pect i ve 2012 appear st o have been a gr eats ucces sf or ever yonewi t ht henot abl ei nt r oduct i onofnew uni f or msandex pos ur et oa numberofs ys t emsf ort he f i r s tt i me,i ncl udi ng Mul t i pl eI nt egr at ed L as er EngagementS ys t ems( MI L ES ) ,maki ngt het r ai ni ngevenmor er eal i s t i c. Ukr ai ni an Def ence Mi ni s t erDmyt r oS al amat i n al s os t at ed t hatt ankuni t s hadus edl as er gui dedmuni t i onst hi syear .“T hes eper f ectpr oj ect i l eswer e j us ts t ocked.T odaywe’ veus ed t hem i npr act i ce. ”T heDef enceMi ni s t er al s os ai dt hatheappr eci at edt hecooper at i onofal luni t st hr oughoutt he ex er ci s e and emphas i s ed t hatt he mi l i t ar yl eader s hi p woul d cr eat ea “compactand ef f ect i ve ar med f or cesand i ncr eas et he s oci als t at usof mi l i t ar ypeopl e” .“Wes ol vet hes et as kss i mul t aneous l y,compr ehens i vel y, and qual i t at i vel y.I ’ ms ur et hatwe’ l lchange t he i mage oft he Ukr ai ni an Ar medF or cess oon, ”hes ai d. I ndeed,f r om t heout s i del ooki ngi ni tver ymuchs eemsasi ft heUkr ai ni an mi l i t ar y has al r eady been l ear ni ng pl ent yf r om i t s oper at i ons and as s oci at i ons wi t h ot her nat i on’ s ar med f or ces and appear st o be advanci ng wel l ,des pi t et he r el at i vel ys mal lbudgeti thast o wor kwi t h compar ed t o ot hernat i ons . Aswel last he moder ni s at i onpr oces st hat ’ s bei ng appl i ed t o a numberofi t sai r cr af t ,mor e pi l ot sar e bei ng t r ai ned, andf l yi nghour sf or2012havebeenal mos tt hr eet i meshi ghert hant hos e l oggedi n2011,andt her e’ sacl eardes i r et oi mpr ovef ur t her .

St eveComberwi s hest ot hankt heUkr ai ni anAFgener als t af f& pr es s of f i cer sf ort hei ri nval uabl e cooper at i on & acces st o Bel bek.

Ai r br akeex t ende


t esont heMi G29f l eetmi ghtnotbeascol our f ul ast hei rF l ankercount er par t sbutt heens embl es t i l l l ooks

ed,t hi sS u27St ax i esoutar medwi t hf ourVympel R73/ AA11ARCHERai r t oai rmi s s i l es .

Exercise Perspective 2012  

Republished for the 'Best of Global Aviation Magazine' series.

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