IVATSEVICHI DISTRICT, 5 August (BelTA) – Air Force pilots practiced the use of motorways as backup airfields in Ivatsevichi District, Brest Oblast during a tactical exercise on 5 August, BelTA has learned.
The first stage of a tactical exercise that involves Air Force and Air Defense units is taking place on 4-7 August. The military carried out several tactical tasks in a highway strip near the village of Chemely on 5 August. Ground and aerial units swept the area for possible sabotage and reconnaissance forces. An injured person was evacuated by a Mi-8 helicopter with a medical module. A section of the road was cleared for landing aircraft. Multirole jet fighters Su-30SM provided aerial coverage.
The landing of military aircraft on the M1 motorway was one of the main episodes of this stage of the military exercise. Crews of the 116th Guards Assault Air Base and the 61st Fighter Air Base practiced flying MiG-29, Su-25, Yak-130, and L-39 aircraft. Chief of the Air Force and Air Defense Command, Major-General Igor Golub said: “Stationary airfields can be attacked by the simulated enemy. Runways will no longer be fit for aircraft then. After evaluating the situation we decided to use the highway strip or a substitute airfield. The pilots did the job well. This highway strip goes through dense forest. There was strong flank wind above the treetops. The wind changes direction during landing and aircraft gets inside kind of a tunnel.”
During the exercise it was the first time in Belarus that a fourth-year student of the Aviation Department of the Military Academy had landed an L-39 aircraft on a motorway. “We arranged a little experiment. Fourth-year cadets recently mastered flying L-39 aircraft. Today we've seen their training program can be expanded to include the highway strip component,” Igor Golub said.
Artyom Chernitsky was behind the control wheel of the L-39 aircraft. He described today's flight as one of the most heart-pounding ones. “Preparations for it were thorough. The Aviation Department gives us theoretical knowledge, which is secured in practice later on. It is more difficult to land an aircraft on a highway strip instead of an airfield. You know every reference point of the airfield and can rely on hardware prompts. On a highway the place is not familiar. Any careless action can result in irreparable consequences,” the cadet stressed.
After the aircraft landed on the highway strip, technicians promptly prepped them for takeoff. Delivering an airstrike against ground targets in the Air Force training area Ruzhany is the next stage of the exercise.