The exercises in the Tver region the aircraft of the military transport aviation of Russia did not entirely peculiar to them - they learned to drop bombs.
For bombing used the Il-76 aircraft - workhorses of the Soviet and Russian air force since the 1970s of the last century. They are well suited for this purpose - they even have special hardpoints for bombs.
Transport plane is much cheaper modern bomber, and in conditions where the risk to fall under the fire defense is small, when the crew is not required to make sudden maneuvers, and we only need to deliver some cargo and drop it above a certain point - big and slow "truck" might come in useful for strike missions.
According to aviation experts, in the world of military aviation there are now two trends - the creation of high-tech, super modern and super expensive aircraft and Vice versa - cheap, budget, relatively simple but multi-functional machines.
Moreover, American experts have expressed the idea of transformation of transport aircraft C-17 and even the cargo version of the B-747 into a bomber and even a submarine.
According to the authors of these ideas, from the point of view of protection of such aircraft will not differ from flying tankers, aircraft of early radar detection or simply by their transport colleagues, which also has to defend during combat missions.
A night RAID
In the bombing in Tver region involved more than 10 crews from aviation units deployed in Tver, Orenburg, Pskov and Taganrog.
"Every other crew, participating in training camp for the first time he was allowed to use bombs," he said following the exercise of the official representative of the press service and information of the defense Ministry on air force Colonel Igor Klimov.
Just gathering the Il-76 dropped about 30 bombs weighing up to 500 kilograms and having been on the air more than 100 hours. The bombing at the speed of 500 kilometers per hour at altitudes from 500 meters to one kilometer.
As told the Russian service Bi-bi-si Igor Klimov, the bombing is one of the elements of preparation of pilots of Il-76.
"This is a challenge for Il-semidesyatiletiya in any case not the main. This aircraft military transport aviation of the Russian air force, it is intended for transportation and landing of personnel, but as an opportunity, provides for the use of external hardpoints bombs", - he said.
Cheap and cheerful
Independent military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told that the cases using Il-76 as the bombers were in the war in Afghanistan.
"Il-76 took on Board 20 tons of bombs. The leading aircraft usually acts as a bomber, and the Il-76, the rest throws", - said the expert.
In addition, Murakhovsky said that Il-76 was produced by the bombing, not with external hardpoints and cargo cabin - bombs were dropped by a special guide-rails.
"But he, of course, cannot precision bomb drop, he was an ordinary bomb drops many tons", - said Viktor murakhovski.
"Bomber dear, they are not everywhere and not always enough. And this is the cheapest method, especially in the absence or suppressed air defense", - the expert added.
This view is shared by some experts in the West. One study published the website of the "Federation of American scientists" - non-governmental organization that researches security issues.
The author (himself a former transport pilot C-141) writes that using "transport bomber" aircraft, can be increased significantly as the group strength and mobility.
In addition, to convert transport aircraft into a bomber is not very difficult technically. The author examines the possibility of using not only military transports such as the C-17, but even civil cargo aircraft based on B-747.
Such aircraft, according to experts in the West, being several times cheaper than modern bombers can carry tens of tons of payload, which can be crucial quality in certain conditions.
In times of crisis
Saving - a new trend in the field of military aviation throughout the world.
At the last Farnborough air show, the star which was to become the fifth generation fighter Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II (not flown to Britain for technical reasons), the attention of experts and visitors attracted another fighter - Scorpion American manufacturer Textron AirLand.
Its main advantage - the price of $ 20 million. for a unit that is about five times cheaper than F-35.
"Even customers from very affluent countries agree that now is the time savings. Of course, we need high-tech and expensive fighter jets, but the pilots need to gain experience, and existing airplanes, a sufficient number of hours to descend hard. I think most States are coming to the understanding that the expensive aircraft is not needed," said Textron AirLand President bill Anderson.
Meanwhile, in the Russian Ministry of Finance in October 2014 talking about the need to reduce military spending. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said then, that maybe the skoraschenie undergo a ten-year state armaments program for 2016-2025.
Among those projects that are likely to be reduced, experts have called plans to create a strategic bomber of the future.
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