Il-38N antisubmarine aircraft go on Arctic duty

The Northern Sea Route is now controlled by antisubmarine aircraft of the Pacific and Northern fleets. Il-38N equipped with Novella complex went on daily patrol. They control ships and submarines close to the important route. Russia monitors the trade route which can transport a half or Euro-Asia cargoes in future, the Izvestia daily writes.

Il 38N antisubmarine aircraft go on Arctic duty Il-38N (Picture source: Ilyushin)

The main Navy command told the newspaper the decision to send the antisubmarine aircraft on combat duty was made early this year. Il-38N are deployed at the Northern fleet airbase and at two combined regiments of the Pacific fleet.

The Kamchatka combined air regiment trained to patrol the Arctic in spring. A group of antisubmarine aircraft flew to the Arctic Ocean area. The pilots searched and classified air targets, surface warships and submarines. Radars and acoustic sensors were engaged. The flights took place in the absence of ground navigation means.

Il-38 have powerful electronic and radar reconnaissance and their engagement in the Arctic is logical. They will provide vital information about the important Russian region, former Commander of the 4th air force and defense army Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko said. "Novella can detect air and surface targets at major distances. The aircraft will expose the targets, identify them and transmit information to the command. The targets will be intercepted and destroyed, if necessary," he said.

The Northern fleet is ready for round-the-year duty, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov said. "Combat duty is done by various ways. One Il-38 can replace another one. It means at least one reconnaissance aircraft will be in the air for days. There can be sporadic flights. An aircraft can take off for several hours a day and fly over ship deployment route or section. It is a tactical matter," he said.

Il-38 is the main Russian reconnaissance aircraft designed to monitor surface and underwater situation. They can also monitor the ice situation. Il-38N is being upgraded. Modern technical solutions increase its sea and ocean patrol effectiveness several times. Modern equipment allows simultaneous tracking of several dozen air targets at a distance of 90 km and surface vessels - 320 km. Novella-equipped Il-38N can track submarines, lay minefields, engage in search and rescue in the Arctic Ocean, and monitor water surface environment, the Izvestia said.

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