November 18, 2020 (Google Translation) – As part of scheduled training flights, the crews of the Baltic Fleet naval aviation completed the tasks of night refueling of aircraft with fuel in the air over the Kaliningrad region.
In the course of combat training, the crews of the Su-30SM multipurpose fighters and the Su-24M front-line bombers performed in-air refueling from the Il-78 Russian Aerospace Forces tanker in the dark. More than 10 aircraft were involved in the development of a complex element. Refueling in the air was carried out both singly and as part of a pair.
Air refueling is one of the most difficult types of flight training. Pilots of the 1st and 2nd classes are allowed to refuel, the flight time of which is more than 400 hours. Trained pilots make the first 8-10 connections with instructors, then 3-4 flights independently. At an altitude of 2000 to 5000 m and at a speed of 500-600 km / h, the pilot must approach the air tanker at a distance of 10-15 m and, with the released boom, contact the refueling cone sensor, and then hold the place in the ranks until full refueling. At night, refueling is carried out using additional lighting installed both on the Il-78 and on the refueling aircraft.
Air refueling is a necessary element of training for naval aviation pilots. The ability to refuel in the air significantly expands the range of aviation and allows aircraft to operate both in operational and tactical depth, and for solving problems in areas located at a great distance from the base using the entire range of air-to-air and air weapons -surface”. Also, the training of crews for refueling in the air allows, if necessary, to relocate aviation units to distant airfields non-stop. To ensure a long-distance flight along the route, it is enough to lift the tanker aircraft into the air.