New commander of Black Sea Fleet (BSF) naval aviation Gen. Maj. Alexander Otroschenko said qualification level of pilots is insufficient, and aircrafts are rapidly getting obsolete.
"Sevastopol is beautiful and honorable city; I like it very much", the general shared his first impressions of service at Black Sea Fleet. "BSF naval aviation? Honestly, it is behind the Pacific Fleet's one in some parameters, including amount of aircrafts. Well, it was pleasant to see that the situation at BSF air bases remains more or less steady in our hard time. Commanders work hard to maintain their subordinate units in permanent combat readiness. Nonetheless, I clearly understand as commander and pilot that contemporary level of aircraft engineering, professionalism of pilots and navigators should be notably higher".
As for Otroschenko, the reason is "primarily, obsolescence of the fleet aircrafts". "Mostly, it is related to Be-12 aircrafts which have been based at Kacha airbase for decades", emphasized the general. In addition, "present BSF naval aviation has not a single veteran pilot, navigator, or sniper", pointed out the general.
According to him, deliveries of new aircrafts "are scheduled; upgraded attack planes Su-24 are to be delivered to the fleet till 2016; more advanced Il-38 will shift Be-12".
Alexander Otroschenko is honored pilot of Russia. He graduated from Stavropol Air Force Academy and mastered such aircrafts as Su-15, MiG-25, L-39, MiG-31, Tu-134. His flight experience is over 2,000 hours; in 2010 he conducted flights in Crimea.
Note that according to Russian Navy Main HQ, Black Sea Fleet ASW aviation may cease to exist within several years. Lifetime of the greater part of the fleet's ASW aircrafts and helicopters will be expired by 2015; they will be decommissioned, since most of them are in service for 40 years.