Aircraft personnel of Northern Fleet (NF) shipborne fighter wing will resume training flights on NITKA system in June-July 2010, reported Interfax referring to a source in Navy Main HQ. According to the source, a certain sum has been already transferred to Ukraine; group of Russian officers has departed for Saki, Crimea to settle current issues on the spot. Till Sept 2009 when Ukraine blocked the access to the range, Russia had annually paid Ukraine $500,000 lease payment for the range.
Somewhat different information was reported by RIA Novosti referring to a representative of Russo-Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet subcommittee. According to the source, flights will be resumed not earlier than Aug 2010. Bilateral consultations between national defense ministries are in progress; officers of Russian naval aviation will join them soon. The consultations are held in constructive way; depending on results, it would be possible to proceed to practical measures, said the source.
It was reported of potential resumption of pilot training on NITKA system as early as March 2010. Nevertheless, Russia keeps up building a naval air warfare center in Yeisk, Krasnodar region designed for the same purpose. The center's opening is expected in 2011.
Ground-based simulator for shipborne aviation NITKA is a special training system imitating carrier's deck. It is designed for training deck takeoff and landing techniques and equipped with all needed facilities, including ramp and arresters.