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28 Mar, 2009 18:38

Medvedev takes off in supersonic fighter-jet

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has taken a flight in a supersonic Sukhoi fighter-bomber while visiting a military airbase near Moscow.

Dmitry Medvedev has visited the Kubinka military airbase in the Moscow region, inspecting air defence systems, military aircraft and helicopters. Besides viewing the military forces in use, the President was also shown concepts to be tested.

Aleksander Zelin, head of the Russian Air Force, guided the President around the base, providing him with detailed descriptions of the aircraft.

The inspection kicked off with military equipment used by Russia’s air-defence forces. After a quick check of missile systems and other machinery, the president went on to see long-distance aviation. Here, Dmitry Medvedev saw air fuel-tanker Il-78M and strategic missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MC. Medvedev asked pilots many detailed questions about the aircraft and then climbed into the cockpit of both airplanes.

The tour continued with the air cargo fleet, operational training aircraft and radar surveillance airplane.

The President then went on to combat air forces, observing fighter jets, including the Mig-29CMT and Su-27CM, the modernized fighter jet-interceptor Mig-31БM and strike-fighter Su-25CM. Dmitry Medvedev was particularly interested in the characteristics and capabilities of these aircraft, asking about their development and modernization process.

After inspecting the airplanes Medvedev went on to see the base’s helicopters. He visited the cargo section and cockpit of one, experienced holding the control wheel in a second and closely observed other military helicopters.

And finally the President got a chance to personally experience all the capabilities of one of the planes. After short instructions and a medical check, Dmitry Medvedev took the second seat in a supersonic Su-34 fighter-bomber.

“The feelings are fantastic. It can not be described with words”, Dmitry Medvedev said, sharing his emotions after the flight.

“The feelings are very strong”, the President went on. “Besides, the aircraft is excellent, very manageable and powerful”.

The President sincerely thanked the pilots and Yury Gritsaenko, commander of the crew he was flying with, for the flight and for guiding him around the base.