Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers Anatoly Serdiukov and Dmitry Salamatin signed a protocol introducing amendments to the bilateral agreement on the aircraft carrier deck simulator NITKA based in Crimea, Ukraine. According to RIA Novosti, the parties will use monetary settlements to lease the simulator.
"Signing of that document allows switching to cash payments for the training center used by Russian shipborne pilots, and also lift restrictions on aircraft types", said Ukrainian defense minister, having added that the new agreement would sanction Ukraine to lease the Crimean simulator out to third countries. The basic intergovernmental agreement on leasing of NITKA training center to Russia was tied in 1997.
In accordance with previous version of the agreement, Russia reimbursed usage of Ukrainian-based simulator with spare parts for Su-27 aircraft to the sum equivalent to $700,000 per year. Although Russia was allowed to use only Su-33 fighters on the deck simulator, it was the sole lease holder. With introduction of monetary payments, the list of aircraft types authorized for use on the simulator will be expanded. As was reported late March 2012, Ukraine increased rental rate for the Crimean training center up to $2 mln per year.
At present, India and China also display interest in the Ukrainian deck simulator. Both countries are constructing own airfields of that kind, sometimes with assistance of Ukrainian experts. Russia also builds a NITKA-type simulator in Yeisk, Krasnodar region which can be put in service even by the current year end.
NITKA training center is located at Novofedorovka air field near Saki, Crimea. The simulator represents a metal copy of flight deck of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Takeoff/landing field of NITKA is equipped with ski-jump and arresters.