The Sky Of The CIS Does Not Unite Everyone

Agency WPS
October 25, 2004, Monday


Another command-staff exercise of the CIS joint anti-aircraft system
was conducted in Moscow last Tuesday. CIS republics organize such
exercises practically every year. The majority of post-Soviet
republics, which joined the CIS joint anti-aircraft system in 1995,
participate in such exercise regularly. The CIS anti-aircraft system
consists of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. The Central Staff of
the Russian Air Force reports that at present the CIS Joint
anti-aircraft system consists of 31 anti-aircraft missile units, 15 air
squadrons and units of the pursuit aviation, 23 radio-technical units,
three detached electronic warfare units and two scientific and
educational institutions. At first sight, this is a substantial force.

In the meantime, not all these units participate in protecting the sky
of the CIS. For instance, only Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the
command-staff exercise in October. Ukraine, Georgia and Turkmenistan
did not take part in the exercise. This is a usual thing.

Ukraine usually participates in international anti-aircraft exercises
only on a bilateral basis. It sends its anti-aircraft units to the
Ashuluk firing range (Russia) every year. Georgia does not practically
have anti-aircraft units. Turkmenistan has not been taking part in
military exercises in the CIS for the past ten years.

It should be noted that Uzbekistan has participated in such exercise
for the first time over the past five to seven years. This year the
crews of the Su-27 fighters operated from the Khanabad airbase, where
US warplanes involved in the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan
are deployed. It’s not ruled out that the Pentagon’s radio-technical
services monitored the exercise of the Joint anti-aircraft system. The
interest of the Uzbek Air Force in defending its airspace in
cooperation with CIS republics is natural. As is known, a jetliner
carrying Talibs crossed the border and landed in Tashkent in 1998. At
present Uzbekistan’s policy toward Russia is more loyal. Uzbekistan has
left GUUAM, and cooperates with Russia within the framework of the
Shanghai Organization of Cooperation. This is why its participation in
the recent joint exercise is a natural move.

It should be noted that Russia is in charge of organizational issues
within the framework of the Joint system. Belarus and Kazakhstan, which
have anti-aircraft units and skilled servicemen, assist Russia.
Anti-aircraft units of these republics showed the best results. In
particular, Kazakh fighters landed near Novorossiisk, and Russian
fighters landed in Karaganda and other regions of the CIS. Belarusian
pilots coped with similar tasks. Around ten Russian and Belarusian
airdrome were involved in the exercise. The crews of Belarusian command
posts of operational commands of the Ground Force, operational-tactical
commands of the Air and Anti-Aircraft Force, units of the Air and
Anti-Aircraft Force and the Ground Force were involved in the

In the meantime, the joint command-staff exercise was conducted under
the command of Russian generals. Lieutenant-General Aitech Bizhev,
deputy secretary of the coordinating committee of the CIS anti-aircraft
force, control the exercise. Colonel-General Boris Cheltsov, Chief of
the Central Staff of the Russian Air Force, participated in the
maneuvers. The staff of the CIS Joint anti-aircraft system stated that
around ten combat tasks linked with protection of the air border of the
CIS were solved during the exercise. In particular, control bodies
polished cooperation during different situations. Units focused on
operation against violators of the air border, assistance to jetliners
in emergency situations and prevention of terrorist acts.

In all over 1,500 servicemen and over 70 warplanes and helicopters
(Su-27, MiG-29, MiG-31, Tu-22M3, Mi-8 and Ka-26) were involved in the
exercise, anti-aircraft units used the S-300, S-125 and S-75 complexes.
The A-50 long-range radio-locating surveillance plane participated in
the maneuvers in the Caucasian region. The A-50 guided fighters to

Translated by Alexander Dubovoi

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress