A series of international military exercises continues in the territory of Russia. As soon as military exercises of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Peace Mission-2007 ended in the Urals area, the exercises of united air defense system of the CIS member states Combat Community-2007 entered the decisive phase at Ashuluk training range. Before the exercises, a meeting of the coordinating council for air defense issues of the council of defense ministers of the CIS countries was held at Privolzhsky airfield in the Astrakhan Region with the participation of commanders of air force and air defense forces of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Between August 14 and 18, flight and combat skills were demonstrated by more than 30 Russian bombers Tu-22M3 and Tu-95MS. With the support of aerial tankers IL-78 the bombers worked out issues of interaction, command and orientation in polar latitudes and performed launches of cruise missiles and aerial refueling.
Meanwhile, the activeness of Russian aviation is registered not only in the trans-polar region. On August 22, the actions of pilots and crews of air defense systems were watched by defense ministers of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at exercises Combat Community-2007. Interestingly, almost all these countries were participants or observers of the SCO exercises in Chebarkul. In Ashuluk, combat skills were demonstrated by air defense units of Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan were present there as observers. Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, aide to the Air Force Commander for information support, told WPS that “about 3,000 servicemen and more than 30 airplanes and helicopters are attracted to participation in the second stage of the exercises.” Along with this, airplanes Su-24, Su-35, Su-27, MiG-29 and helicopters Mi-8 and Mi-24 of the air force of Russia and Belarus will perform more than 100 flights and crews of air defense missile systems S-300, S-125 and Buk will fire at dynamic and ballistic missiles.
Meanwhile, not all CIS countries participate in work of the united air defense system now. Georgia and Turkmenistan have abstained from participation in any programs of the united system since 1997. However, even in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB), the united air defense system of the CIS represents an impressive force. The united air defense system of the CIS established more than 12 years ago unites 19 fighter aviation regiments, 29 air defense missile regiments, 22 radio technical units, two electronic countermeasures units, as well as four air defense brigades. The air defense missile units are armed with Osa, Buk, S-75, S-125, S-200 and S-300 systems of several modifications. Fighter aviation uses MiG-23, MiG-29, MiG-31 and Su-27 airplanes. Joint exercises Combat Community have been conducted since 1995. Since that time, 70 air defense missile battalions of various modifications, 60 crews of fighter, attack and bomber aviation and 14 units of radio technical forces were attracted for firing practice.
Member states of the united air defense system of the CIS are going to get integrated further. More efficient uniting of the air defense forces of the CIS countries will be done on the basis of the Russian-Belarusian system, implying the establishment of a united regional command and mutual use of the detection means and system for airspace control of the member states. Besides the West European zone to be covered by the air defense forces of Russia and Belarus, it is also planned to create the Caucasian and the Central Asian air defense zones of the CIS countries.
Military experts say that the preservation and maintenance of the infrastructure necessary for the fulfillment of the tasks, provision of military assistance to the armed forces of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in buildup of the national air defense forces, organization of joint combat duty with them and the conduction of joint command staff exercises with real indication of air situation.
Thus, the united air defense system of the CIS exists in reality and defends the member states from threats from the air and outer space. So far, the united air defense system of the CIS is the most efficient component of ODKB that is practically implemented in the protection of airspace of the ODKB member states.