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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The “problem transponders will cost Russia dearly

One of the themes of the last Wednesday meeting of the Council Russia – NATO was the famous “transponder problem”. In the absence of such devices in the Russian combat aircraft accuse our country NATO officials. President Putin has instructed to solve the problem, but the execution of the order will not only take a long time, but will cost a lot.

“Russia put forward a proposal for security in the airspace in the Baltic sea. I welcome the signs of a desire to continue to take measures to reduce risks,” – said Wednesday the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after a meeting of the Council Russia – NATO in Brussels.

“If you flew to the border without this block, the Lithuanian radar can’t see you and, accordingly, does not give you entrance to their airspace”

Such arrangements could be a first and important step towards de-escalation, said in turn Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko on results of session. “The transponders is a complex problem associated with handling military air traffic and civil air traffic. That’s not the only problem associated with the practice of the flights of Russian aviation in the region. This is a problem that should be solved in cooperation between civil and military services”, – said Grushko.

Therefore, according to him, the Russian side agreed with the proposal of the Finnish President on the flight-enabled transponders in certain regions of the Baltic sea. “But considering the complexity of issues and the need to consider many technical aspects as well as taking into account the differences of practices in different countries, not all NATO countries fly enabled transponders. Rather, fly with transponders turned off,” said the Ambassador. He noted that this issue requires the involvement of specialists. “We want the military experts got together and agreed on this. If agreed, this could be the first and very important step towards de-escalation, which is all the time talking to our partners,” – said Grushko.

The solution to the problems related to the safety of aviation over the Baltic sea, – “it is one small step that you want to defuse tensions and normalize the situation in the Baltic sea,” said Wednesday the Minister of defence of Finland is the namesake of President Jussi Niinistö.

With the agreement on aviation in the Baltic region should be followed by others and on mutual reduction of military activity and military presence there is, in principle, added in an interview with RIA Novosti Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev.

So-called problem of the transponder, that is, systems that allow you to see the location carrying the appliance of the aircraft, other aircraft and ground services, has a long history. One recent example: in may and June, the fighters of NATO provided the support for the Russian planes and fighter jets. Ministry of defence of Latvia, then, was that our planes were flying without providing a flight plan, with no included radar systems and no support for the flight control center. However, the Russian defense Ministry has always stated that no violations of international rules of flights in this. Indeed, why should the Russian military aviation must provide a flight plan, a country that is in NATO?

Nevertheless, in early July, President Vladimir Putin agreed with the suggestion of his Finnish colleague Sauli Niinistö on the need to develop a system of measures of aviation security in the Baltic region. As reported last week by the newspaper VIEW, defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, acting on the instructions of the President, instructed to prepare relevant proposals. In particular, it is planned to use during flights of aircraft with the included transponder. This idea was discussed, in particular, the Council Russia – NATO.

In recent years NATO countries have repeatedly accused Russia that its military aircraft will operate close to international air routes, supposedly creating threat of safety of flights of civil aircraft. The main threat appears to come not so much from the military nature of the aircraft, but also on the fact that they fly with transponders turned off, making them “invisible” to civilian cars and civilian air traffic controllers. However, as found by German journalists, the crews of aircraft of the NATO also do not always include transponders. VZGLYAD already published a detailed analysis of recrimination.

Expensive and time consuming

Meanwhile, military experts have already begun to discuss the technical side of a possible agreement with NATO. To equip the majority of aircraft of the Baltic naval aviation transponders, it may take too much time and money, warned in an interview with a former high-ranking officers of the Russian air force.

“Before, it was not our military aircraft no transponder. We as an additional instrument of identification was WITH the-69 – defendant’s aircraft dispatcher, and then not at all. The forerunner of modern transponders. Figuratively speaking, the airplane is flying, the Manager, a label appears on the radar. The dispatcher hovers the cursor – and on the screen there is displayed the altitude, remaining fuel, a Board room, a flight, sometimes the Callsign of the commander of the crew. In General, basic parameters. If SOD is revoked, so this is our Board, Russian. And not have everyone ask you where you fly, how high. Maybe the last aircraft already something has changed, but in General, we have the vast majority of planes are still old,” lamented a retired officer.

“In 1994, we concluded a provisional agreement with Lithuania “on the withdrawal period and on it since then and flew 20 years from the Kaliningrad region in Russia. Under this agreement to any aircraft in the airspace of Lithuania shall be equipped with an RBS unit is what is now called a transponder. If you flew to the border without this block, the Lithuanian radar can’t see you and, accordingly, does not give you entry to their airspace. In this case, once in the airspace of Lithuania could be only one military aircraft. If you don’t have a transponder, then go to Kaliningrad only by sea from St. Petersburg on the Finnish Gulf, skirting all the Baltic States. It turns out twice as long,” explained the source.

“Then centrally purchased three pieces. Without modifications they put on the An-26. It may be fast enough to solve the problem at the expense of the bloc. And the modern? I do not know. Official information about the number of our military aircraft in the Baltic is closed, but in any case, we have several hundred of these transponder purchase and on different aircraft models to put. The transponder can cost a thousand dollars, and the setup is a few thousand. In each plane a few tens of kilometers of wires. Everything is Packed, it is necessary to change the alignment of all wires. Need to turn in KB Ilyushin”, “Tupolev”, “Dry” and so on” – listed source.

“Most likely, will be to each regiment of two or three transponder. When the task appears to fly in the region where it is necessary to include, will be issued specifically for one flight,” – said the reserve officer.

The opinion of the source in an interview with the newspaper OPINION agreed in General and former commander of the 4th air army and air defense force, Hero of Russia, Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko. “This equipment is for civilian and military transport aircraft. Early on military aircraft anywhere it is not installed. It’s hard to say how much it will cost now blocks”, – said Lieutenant General. However, Gorbenko doubt that for the sake of saving units will be manufactured in small numbers and use in turn. “In any case, the machine just will not take, like a cell phone in his pocket. Need to install, connect to the power supply system. Have to do revision on each aircraft on the aircraft factories. Accordingly, it is expensive,” admitted the former army commander.

A source in the Russian aviation industry also confirmed to the newspaper VIEW that the installation of appropriate equipment will require the development of experimental design and documentation of considerable forces and means.”

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