The Western Military District’s Fighter Command is conducting a three-day exercise above the Arctic Circle. Pilots and jets have been relocated from all over the district to airfields in the Murmansk region to take part in the drills.
More than 25 aircraft of the types Su-34 (NATO reporting name Fullback), Su-27 of different modifications (Flanker), MiG-29SMT (Fulcrum), MiG-31 (Foxhound) and MiG-31BM from Voronezh, Kursk, Tver, Karelia and Murmansk are taking part in the exercise, the Ministry of Defense writes on its web site.
The exercise takes place in the airspace above the Barents Sea and on the air force firing ground Timur in Murmansk Oblast.
This is the first time Su-34 jetfighters participated in this sort of drills, according to the Ministry of Defense. The aircraft conducted launches of guided air-to air missiles on targets dropped from 10.000 meters.
Su-34 is one of Russia’s newest fighter-bombers and had its first flight in 1990. In 2012 The Ministry of Defense ordered 92 Su-34 from the Sukhoi aircraft maker, according to RIA Novosti.
Also a new and upgraded version of the MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor, the MiG-31BM is taking part in the drill. The MiG-31BM multirole version has upgraded avionics, new multimode radar, more powerful computer, digital data links and a lot of other modernizations. A project to upgrade the Russian MiG-31 fleet to the MiG-31BM standard was begun in 2010. 60 or more aircraft are to be upgraded to MiG-31BM standard by 2020, according to RIA Novosti.