30 July 2015
By bmpd [Russian blogger, one of the best-informed on security and defense issues]
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
RIA Novosti reported on 28 July that the first phase of forming a mixed aviation division in the Eastern Military District, on the Step’ airbase (Transbaikal Krai) will be completed by the end o fthe year according to the district press service chief Aleksandr Gordeyev.
The Step’ airbase is being thoroughly modernized, and it will host the attack aviation regiment that’s being formed as part of the division.
“We are assembling engineering, technical, and service personnel, we’ve sent out requests for weapons and equipment. By the end of the year we’ll form the technical support units and the dispatcher service,” Gordeyev said.
The airbase will be able to accept aircraft of all types and categories, up to heavy airlifters.
Chita.ru simultaneously announced that the attack aviation regiment has begun its formation. Eastern Military District press service representative Ilya Metyolkin told the media that “The regiment’s is being formed. The Step’ airbase is being restored, and the regiment will be activated as the restoration progresses. Initially it will use Su-25 aircraft. It will be re-equipped later, but it’s too soon to say anything about that. There are plans, but it’s too early to reveal them.”
Bmpd’s comment: Therefore we are talking not only about a new attack aviation regiment in the Eastern Military District, but a second aviation division as part of the 3rd Red Banner VVS and PVO Command (which will be be redesignated the 11th Aerospace Army) of the Eastern Military District, that will serve alongside the 303rd Mixed Aviation Division headquartered in Khurba (Khabarovsk Krai). The new aviation division will apparently unify aviation units on the territory of the former Transbaikal Military District. The new division will be formed on the basis of the 412th Aviation Base whose units are located at the Domna and Chita-1 (Cheremushki) airbases. Domna is the site of the 120th Mixed Aviation Regiment which by early 2015 had both of its fighter squadrons rearmed with new multi-role Su-30SM fighters, and which also has two Su-25 squadrons.
Prior to the “new model” reforms the Step’ airbase had the Su-25-equipped 266th Red Banner Separate Attack Aviation Regiment named after the Mongolian People’s Republic, which was deactivated on 1 December 2009. The aircraft were transferred to the 412th Air Base in Domna (now part of the 120th Mixed Aviation Regiment). Since 2010 the Step’ airbase was used as a reserve airfield, and also for munitions disposal.
Now both Su-25 squadrons will return to Step’, where they will serve as the foundation for an attack aviation regiment.
In June 2015 Minister of Defense Shoygu said that the Step airbase “should be restored in no more than a year,” and it will be used to base an attack aviation regiment. One can assume that the new aviation division (headquartered in Domna) will include the 120th Fighter Aviation Regiment with Su-30SM, the reactivated 266th (?) Attack Aviation Regiment with Su-25, and possibly a new mixed (transport and helicopter) regiment in Chita-1.
Moreover, according to information at our disposal, a new aviation regiment is also being formed in the Southern Military District’s 4th VVS and PVO Command (after 1 August, the 4th Aerospace Army), where the separate reconnaissance squadron at Marinovka (Volgograd Region) equipped with Su-24MR received from aviation units in Voronezh and Morozovsk that received the new Su-34 bombers is being transformed into a mixed aviation regiment.
to 1 December 2009 Marinovka based the 11th Vitebsk Separate
Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment. Deploying a separate reconnaissance
squadron and a mixed aviation regiment is part of the general trend of
strengthening the group of forces located along Ukraine’s borders.
J.Hawk’s Comment: They don’t seem to be neglecting the Far East either, most likely out of concern for Japan’s future actions (a country that’s probably growing increasingly desperate and whose economy is in big trouble) and probably also as a potential back-up to China in the event of a conflict with the US…