Russian naval aviation faces acute shortage of patrol hydroplanes, since their construction is nearly not subsidized, reported Wednesday RIA Novosti citing Gen. Lt. Valery Uvarov, commander of Navy's aviation and air defense.
"We should put hydroplane A-40
into service, just like it was planned", Uvarov said.
He reminded that presently only Black Sea Fleet has in inventory rescue hydroplanes Be-12
. "Other fleets do not have them at all; they were dismantled just because of obsolescence, since first aircrafts of this type were commissioned far back in 1963", added Uvarov.
According to him, multirole naval aircraft A-40
can be used both as rescue, ASW, assault, and patrol aircraft.
"At first, we have to complete all works preliminary to the batch production of A-40
. Primarily, to test rescue system and license it", said the general.
As for him, each theater of naval operations should have hydroplanes; in Pacific Fleet – five aircrafts at Primorsky Krai and Sakhalin, three at Kamchatka. "Northern Fleet needs smaller amount, since its theater is not so scattered as Pacific one. So, five aircrafts are enough there, three – for Baltic Fleet, and three – for Black Sea Fleet", Uvarov said.
The main thing is to define tasks which are currently assigned to reformed Navy and naval aviation.
He underlined that the first aircraft could be expensive – about RUR 3.5 bln. "However, serial products will be notably cheaper", the general said.
At present, only one prototype of A-40
was produced; it has been attending all aircraft exhibitions through the recent 10 years, said Anatoly Tikhomirov, department director of Taganrog Aircraft Research and Technical Center (developer of A-40
). The second aircraft is 70 per cent completed and has been staying at the plant for the same period of time.
"Assembly of four A-40
aircrafts ordered by Russian Navy under defense procurement program has not even started, and there's no financing for the next year so far", said Tikhomirov.
In the course of reforms in Russian armed forces, naval aviation is going to become a separate branch. General Uvarov will be retired and the post of Naval Aviation Commander is vacant.