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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Arctic troops will go on the attack with “Shelest”

For the third consecutive year the airborne division in the extreme conditions of the Arctic and spend conducting search and rescue operations. What difficulties have to face the “blue berets” in these latitudes, which developed the parachute system for airborne and much more in an interview with “MK” was told by the head of airborne training, the Deputy commander of the airborne forces, major-General Vladimir KOCHETKOV.

photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

— Vladimir, how did the idea of the use of airborne troops in the Arctic?

— The idea of using airborne troops in the Arctic appeared in 2009, after Vladimir Anatolyevich Shamanov appointed commander of airborne troops.

The fact that airborne troops are involved in operations of search and rescue disaster expeditions is first and foremost a humanitarian mission, and, of course, a good training in the study region.

Assessing the geopolitical position of our country, we have always understood that the development of the Arctic region for peaceful purposes will be carried out not only by Russia but also countries such as USA, Canada, China, Norway and others. And the more this direction will involve scientific, geological, geographical expeditions, the greater the need to assist in the rescue and evacuation of people — the members of the expeditions in case of need.

— What specific tasks were set for paratroopers at the North pole?

— The expedition was conducted in order to improve the skills of special forces, airborne landing and performing search-and-rescue and special tasks in the extreme conditions of the North pole.

During a recent field output simulated task of landing on the drifting ice and the deployment of the camp. Then the paratroopers had to perform transitions over drifting ice to cross water barriers, through cracks and openings using dry suits, to organize a cold night, as well as work travel by dog sleds and snowmobiles.

In addition to this unit were trained in the performance of tasks in extreme conditions associated with evacuation and rescue of people in distress.

— Managed to cope with all these challenges?

— Yes, of course. Despite the difficulties, managed to work out the questions on the basics of survival and security, the peculiarities of navigation in the Arctic. We received practical skills in driving a snowmobile. Transitions have been committed with the length more 10 km skiing and snowshoeing with equipment on sledges, breaking the hummocks and crevasses.

— In what conditions was carried out parachutes? What features of the training landing in the Arctic?

Division landed by parachute system of special purpose “Arbalet-2” in adverse weather conditions. The air temperature is minus 16 degrees, and the average wind speed at the ground of 7-9 m/s. platform a landing is very small, its size — 500 x 350 m. It was located in the area of the base camp of the airborne forces on a drifting ice floe. It is about 100 km from the geographical point of North pole.

The landing was carried out sequentially in two Il-76 planes in three passes, a series of 16-17 people in every aisle of the plane. Another difficulty was that the cloud base was at 400 meters. That is, the paratroopers out of the plane and then found themselves in thick fog. Almost a kilometer they flew without any landmarks. The difficulty here is: if you’re not caught wind direction, you can go right or left and to go far beyond the landing point. The most difficult thing in such circumstances — the right to catch the wind. To assess its strength and direction. The ability of the mouse to determine the direction of the wind that is called “blind”. The paratroopers had everything you need: personal items, food, ammunition. So did they jump loaded, that is, “the eyeballs.” Therefore, the decrease in they had a very high horizontal speed. Especially when everything is white, the top is almost not seen any benchmarks that were set. But the guys were ready to navigate both in the air and on the ground.

In landing, the personnel showed a high level of training, acting bravely and professionally. Injuries, incidents and accidents in landing was not.

— This is the third expedition to the North pole. What experiences practiced in the compounds of the airborne forces for training of personnel for action in the Arctic?

— We have significantly expanded the geography of application of air landings at the scale of the Armed forces, including in the Arctic zone. So, in the far East during the strategic exercises “Vostok-2014” was made landing on Wrangel island, in the archipelago of the Novosibirsk Islands, Kotelny island…

Each time adapting to the harsh conditions of the are new units. We have already experienced three kinds of forms for actions in the Arctic. It is primarily presented to the Expeditionary center of the Russian geographical society, polar clothing (first expedition), during the second expedition we used a set of uniforms Collective rapid reaction forces, this time we combined the uniforms of the CRRF with elements of WCPA (all-season set of field uniforms). Of course, best of all showed polar clothing.

— Which opens prospects for the use of paratroopers in the Arctic?

— The use of airborne troops in the Arctic will allow us to closely examine the new forms and methods of use of airborne troops, not only with humanitarian purposes. If you need it, it will run any, including the military, the task of protecting Russia’s national interests.

— Navy is a parachute D-10, are you satisfied with his performance? Are there any plans to move to a new system?

— Parachute D-10, of course, has proven itself very well, but it is clear that we must move forward, because the army received the latest samples of armaments. For example, now goes airborne combat outfit “Ratnik”. After her operation, it became clear that the soldier dressed in gear, not very comfortable to jump on D-10, primarily because when you jump with the D-10 doesn’t load all the necessary things, you have some ammunition to put into a fighting machine. However, there is often also not enough space. In addition, of course, you need to jump the paratrooper immediately upon arrival at your. So we gave the task of designing a new parachute system for the mass landing (its working title “the Rustle”). The new requirements included and the mass flight of paratrooper, and the location of the cargo container with a capacity of about 50 litres which should be fastened ahead. We also principally laid to control the parachute was as secure as possible. Turn the dome 180 degrees should be 10-12 seconds, now such a reversal on the D-10 runs for about 30 seconds. To spare and the main dome were behind the skydiver. Now reserve parachute from the D-10 is at the front, and in landing with the weapon slot, which is mounted on the chest, and can strike commando. In addition, the cargo container should be floating, to the landing of the paratrooper he could use it as a lifeline. We also came to the realisation that the reserve parachute need to put an electronic device that automatically opened a “spare tire” at a certain altitude if the main chute didn’t open.

Photo: mil.ru

— Is there something you can learn from in this matter your colleagues from foreign armies?

— If to speak about the parachute fabric, Yes. Now when you create parachute systems, we ask the manufacturer to pay special attention to bandwidth fabric dome. Some foreign systems now throughput tissue is zero, and we have not yet reached such parameters. What is its advantages? If the density is zero, then this will allow you to fly this parachute is much further and the rate of descent will be lower.

And cargo platforms have achievements?

Now, we are developing a new multi-dome parachute-strapdown system dropping “Plantation”. In addition, the issue on creation of the unified multi-purpose platform with a unified parachute system for aerial delivery equipment and loads. Now there was a question about making a cargo parachute system became manageable. Always the paratrooper runs to the cargo, and what to do if the cargo itself can fly to the paratrooper.

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