The ex-commander-in-chief of the Air Force, Hero of the Russian Federation, Army General Pyotr Deynekin told about the achievements and current problems of the DA, as well as Russian aviation as a whole, to the Military-Industrial Courier.
- Peter Stepanovich, you began service in long-range aviation. Surprisingly, you managed to visit both the Aeroflot pilot and the Air Force commander in chief. What do you think aviation means for Russia? Are we too, figuratively speaking, fixated on this? Many countries dispense with the national aviation industry, especially without military aviation.
- States that have such an industry are called aviation powers. And in the beginning of the thirties, Stalin, with good reason, announced to the whole world that in the USSR “there is now an aviation industry”, and immediately approved Air Day fleet. A state that does not have an aircraft industry is not called a power, but simply a country.
Aviation as a new means of warfare in the civilized world started talking as soon as the Frenchman Bleriot flew over the English Channel in 1909. A couple of years later, during the war between Turkey and Bulgaria, the aircraft received their first baptism of fire.
Back in those days, the pilots conducted aerial reconnaissance and bombed enemy ground targets. At the same time, Russia in this matter lagged behind Europe, and this caused concern in the minds of our patriots.
For example, in December 1909 of the year at a joint meeting of the State Duma and the State Council, Academician Prince Golitsyn said: “We are faced with the task of tremendous national importance, and we can’t delay further. It would be more than terrible and even criminal if we were in this matter too far behind our neighbors, let them quietly strengthen and acquire an air fleet. ”
Golitsyn was supported by many state and public figures, and the chairman of the Imperial All-Russian Aeroclub, Count Stenbock-Fermor, said then: “One thing is surely anyway. In order to avoid enslavement, if not directly military, then in any case economic and cultural, in order to preserve its independence and remain a great power, Russia needs an air fleet. ”
- There is evidence that even Nikolai II was personally involved in military aviation. How true is this?
- Why even? It really is. In 1910, the sovereign gave the go-ahead to study the flights of Russian officers in France, and after receiving the first graduates of the Sevastopol aviation school for officers in Livadia, in November 1911, publicly announced: "We assume that the military air force has begun."
The emperor was always present at the parade and maneuvers of the troops with the participation of aviation, and in Gatchina he climbed aboard the Russian Knight, the world's first heavy air ship.
According to his highest permission in August 1912, all questions on aviation and aeronautics were concentrated in the General Directorate General Staff. And in the Military and Maritime Agencies were created, respectively, air detachments and flight stations.
In December 1914, thanks to the support of the king, the formation of the world's first squadron of aircrafts on Ilya Muromets airplanes began, and in March 1916 in the Military Ministry appeared Uvoflot (Office of Military Air Fleet). It was exactly this year that the 100 anniversary was celebrated ... Unfortunately, no one of the officials in our country remembered such a glorious anniversary. And aviation historians about the Imperial Russian Air Fleet have only the bright memory and triptych with the icon of the Holy Mother of God “The Sign”, which is installed by aviation veterans in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on Darya Street in Paris.
- Despite the attention of the first persons to aviation, the air power of Russia grew then nevertheless with a significant lag behind England, France, Germany ...
- Yes it is. Our lag in military aviation with particular urgency manifested itself with the onset of the First World War. However, after the change of the state system in Russia, appropriate conclusions were made. The Soviet government, in general, correctly predetermined the further dual purpose of aviation: both as a formidable type of military force and as a new vehicle, which is necessary for a huge country. At the same time, the Imperial Russian military air fleet was first renamed Workers 'and Peasants' Red, and then organizationally divided into civilian air fleets and the Air Force.
But both military and civil aviation at all times played an important role in the defense of our country. For example, in November 1942, Stalin sent a cipher telegram to Zhukov at Stalingrad: “The experience of fighting the Germans shows that victory can only be achieved with air superiority. And if Novikov (the commander of the Red Army's air force) thinks that aviation is not yet ready, then the operation must be postponed. ”
The war in Syria has once again convincingly shown to the whole world that air supremacy is the most important expression of the state’s military power.
- You mentioned Syria. Doesn't it seem like we started slipping slightly? Maybe some VKS still can not do? What conclusions could you draw from the Syrian operation?
- Churchill, speaking in 1940, in the English Parliament after the “air battle for England,” said: “From the beginning of the century to the present, fleets and land armies must come to terms with their secondary position.” Today, when supremacy in the sky ensures victory on earth, this phrase is more than relevant. But we know from personal experience that without a mighty navy and ground forces, victory in a modern war is impossible. Yes, we successfully bombed the enemy for over a year, but there is no victory without infantry. This is the first.
The second conclusion is that we need to take care of the officer corps. This follows from the fact that not a single oilman or banker, and even more so the oligarch, will ever cause a fire on himself. Only an officer is capable of such a feat. The officers of Russia are not some kind of “green men,” but the golden fund of a nation. And this should not be forgotten by those officials who are trying to deprive Russian servicemen of well-deserved pensions.
The third conclusion. If earlier Russia had only two allies, now there are three of them: the army, the navy and the aerospace forces.
For the second year now, several hundred of our military pilots are bravely fighting far from their native shores. And even in the Syrian sky, they highly raised the international prestige of Russia. But at the same time, we must not forget that such a small number of combat pilots for the war against a strong enemy will be enough for a short time. So you have to think about the reserves. And if we talk about large-scale hostilities, the personnel of civil aviation can become a hot reserve of the VKS in a serious war. At present, more than 14 thousands of highly skilled pilots successfully work on airplanes and helicopters of Russian carriers. And they should already be preparing on peaceful days in order to take their place at the helm of combat vehicles in a special period.
- Do you think it is necessary to raise this question right now? After all, military retraining of civilian pilots should be carried out during the period of mobilization ...
- And when do you think you need to raise it? When the thunder clap? For the second year together with the coalition we are fighting in Syria, and the terrorists are not going to surrender. Plus, two years of sanctions against Russia, the deployment of NATO bases on our western borders - is that not enough? So now it is necessary not only to raise, but also to solve the issue of training. This is like with the budget and oil prices - you must always be prepared for the worst case scenario.
By the way, we have extensive experience with regard to the training of flight personnel. There was a time when at the head of the national air fleet for decades were statesmen and marshals of aviation. In the Great Patriotic War it was Marshal of Aviation Fedor Alekseevich Astakhov. Jet and turboprop aircraft mastered with Marshal of Aviation Semen Fedorovich Zhavoronkov. With the Marshal of Aviation Evgenia Fedorovich Loginov, the Head Department of the Civil Air Fleet (in 1964) was transformed into the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and with the Chief Air Marshal Boris Pavlovich Bugaev, Aeroflot became the largest airline in the world. In those years, military pilots learned to fly in civil aviation, and the best pilots of the Civil Air Fleet mastered jet technology just in long-range aviation.
But when the Soviet Union collapsed, the Ministry of Aviation Industry and Civil Aviation was abolished, and the air force, together with its staff, was successfully privatized by deft managers.
Then the 350 market marketers bought Boeing and Airbusov with billions of dollars, and our aircraft were completely removed from production and decommissioned. By the way, your newspaper more than once, including most recently ("Undercover Wings", - O.F.) wrote how in Russia brilliantly ruined domestic civil aviation.
- But the sobering comes. Now we are proud that during the year we have transported about one hundred million passengers without fail.
- All this is true. However, it should be understood that these shipments are made on foreign-made aircraft that are leased and registered offshore in overseas territories. And if our partners in the fight against terrorism take appropriate sanctions against the operation of the Erbas and Boeings, Russia will face an air transport collapse. Only oligarchs will be able to fly on personal business jets. So much for the vaunted market.
As for the United Aircraft Corporation, over the past quarter of the market century, it was able to create only the “Superjet-100” and roll out the fuselage of the new MS-21 aircraft from the Irkutsk aircraft factory. I emphasize that both of these cars are assembled from foreign components, which may well be imposed the notorious sanctions.
- How do you think you can correct the situation?
- Apparently, the construction of the domestic civil air fleet should be dealt with by the full-time Department for determining the state policy in the field of civil aviation. However, he is powerfully trapped inside the Ministry of Transport and cannot solve these problems by definition. Therefore, to strengthen economic independence and the defense power of the country, a structure is needed that will be able to solve the following important tasks:
construction of the domestic air fleet;
the development of the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route;
restoration of air traffic in the east of the country;
preparation of a reserve for the Aerospace Forces (VKS).
For this, it is necessary to recreate the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Aviation Industry.
- But without the training of relevant personnel is impossible. Recently, the media has been preaching the concept of so-called transport education, according to which, in one consolidated university, the Ministry of Transport is going to train a diver and a locomotive driver, a long-distance captain and an aircraft commander. How do you feel about this idea?
- What can I say. With such ideas do not get bored. Let me remind you that a few years ago, the same officials who did not work a day in aviation lobbied for the law on the admission to the post of commanders of aircraft of foreign citizens. It is impossible to render a more valuable service to foreign intelligence agencies for the introduction of their agents into Russia with all their desire.
Probably, the leading officials of the Ministry of Transport relate to aviation in the same way as to football, where, for big money, they hire players and coaches abroad. This is no easier. The unenviable results of devotion to the Vikings in big-time sports are well known. But aviation is not football. Therefore, the professional partnership of Russian aviators created such an atmosphere for these “innovations” that the rate of state officials on the voyage pilots failed.
As for the training of our civilian aviators in the event of a serious war, some of the ranks in high administrations refer to 2011 for a year - then, they say, the Ministry of Defense stated that it doesn’t need pilots at all, since it lacks its own. But now is not 2011, but 2016 a year. And the leadership of the Ministry of Defense is different. Not from the windows of a high cabinet, but from the cockpit of a combat aircraft, we see what two years of sanctions and the second year of the war in Syria are turning to for the country. It would be necessary to remove the rose-colored glasses of the past oil well-being, think in real time.
- There was a time when the Ministry of Defense of Russia also merged and cut universities ...
- I agree. However, military education in this case was clearly distributed among the geophysical areas of warfare: the earth's crust to the Ground Forces, the ocean to the fleet, and the sky to the Aerospace Forces. In the army, no one teaches a lawyer and a tankman, a military doctor and a sapper, a sailor and a pilot in one university. For example, in VKS there are three higher educational institutions. Each of them trains specialists separately: for the Air Force, for the air defense, for the Space Forces. Conclusion: the very idea of creating a national transport university is beyond doubt, but we need to preserve and improve, but not abolish the system of training in civil aviation.
Reformist itch in many officials arises from the fact that they are very far from such a holy concept as dominance in the air. Let me remind them of the patriotic appeal of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, which was sounded as early as 1912, but giving up the alarm in our day: “The air fleet of Russia must be stronger than the air fleet of our neighbors! This must be remembered by everyone who cherishes the military power of our Motherland. ”