A born fighter pilot, a disciple of the great AI In 1977-1987, Nikolai Moskvitelev headed Pokryshkina, led the country's air defense aviation, was the chairman or deputy chairman of state commissions for testing the famous MiG-25, MiG-23MLD, Su-27, MiG-31, A-50, M-17. N.I. Moskvitelev - one of the most authoritative people today in the world of aviation.
- Nikolai Ivanovich, you have already appeared on the pages of the Century. The name of that material is “War comes from heaven”. You said that the events of recent decades convincingly showed the crucial role of aviation in military conflicts. And now seven years have passed. Is your point of view confirmed?
- Sure. Remember the events in Libya. And now we see the threat approaching Syria, and the American forces are aimed primarily from aircraft carriers. The main role is again assigned not to ground forces, but to cruise missiles and combat aircraft.
Back in 1947, I graduated from the Yeisk Naval Academy, survived 10 commanders in aviation. He worked with all the general designers - the creators of the aircraft unsurpassed to this day. Today in our Club of honored military pilots, test pilots and navigators there are about 500 people, this is the elite of the national aviation, many still work, are engaged in science, we are aware of all the innovations. This collective experience gives me the opportunity to state the following. The main force in the conflicts and wars of the XNUMXst century is no longer the ground forces. Previously, they were rightfully considered as such, they really won the Great Patriotic War, then some local wars. But today, if we are talking about a possible big war, then, of course, cruise missiles and other modern means of attack will fly not on the ground forces, not on Tanks, and on large facilities, on controls, on our nuclear potential. And therefore, it is precisely aerospace defense that should now become dominant in the Armed Forces. I recently was at a round table in the State Duma and there experts correctly assessed: at present, there is an underestimation of the importance of aerospace defense.
Nostalgic sentiments that ground forces remain the main force, unfortunately, still exist. But in fact, if we want to build an effective defense against a decisive air attack, then, of course, a new type of Armed Forces — air and space defense must come to the fore.
- The defense of the XXI century?
- Yes, the defense of the XXI century. These are over-the-horizon radars, anti-aircraft missile and other aerospace defense equipment. And one more important moment - the commander of the aerospace defense must necessarily have in the direct subordination of fighter aircraft, namely long-range interceptors of the type MiG-31М and MiG-31MD. Because thousands of drones, which will become even larger and which are continuously being improved, we will not destroy the Bulava, as they say, from a cannon on sparrows. Fences because you do not put on each ground object. Interceptor aircraft must destroy the means of attack at long-range targets — the carriers, the cruise missiles themselves, and the low-orbit space objects.
Underestimation is also seen in matters of control, interaction of anti-aircraft missile forces and fighter aircraft. This is an old sick problem. Back in Vietnam, the anti-aircraft missile forces that we created in the DRV army shot down about ten of their aircraft, several dozen of their aircraft were shot down during the fighting in Egypt, and more than 10 aircraft were also shot down in Syria. Why? The interaction system was not worked out. Now, when we have created joint directions, strategic defensive areas, unresolved interaction between the branches of the armed forces will lead to the fact that we shoot down our planes. Previously, we have such interaction, operational art was available in the armies (OA) of air defense, today they are not.
Alexander Tarnaev, a well-known expert, State Duma deputy, member of the Committee on Defense, writes in the Military-Industrial Courier: “In December 2011, a new type of military force was created - the East Kazakhstani Army. However, as many military experts note, this positive step in itself has not yet led to the realization of the goal set by the VKO concept - to organize combat operations of multiple groups of troops in a common system of armed struggle under unified leadership, according to a single plan and plan. The command of the Armed Forces of the East Kazakhstan region due to the lack of rights cannot solve such tasks. In the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation there are no elements of continuous monitoring of the evolving aerospace situation. The creation of the new structure of the Armed Forces armies and their equipping with new weapons and military equipment (weapons and military equipment - Ed.) Is slow and does not correspond to the scale of the possible threat to the country. The unified air defense system and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation disintegrated into five independent parts - four air defense systems of military districts and the formation of the East Kazakhstani Army.
There are other important issues, for example, on the MiG-31. Here is our major military theorist, President of the Academy of Military Sciences, Army General Makhmut Gareyev writes: "There is no more important task for the fate of our entire Fatherland than the task of creating an effective aerospace defense." And he asks: why is the best fighter in the world we were hoping for, being converted into a bomber? And at the hearings, which were held in the State Duma, the same is indicated on the MiG-31 - there was no better fighter than this, and they are now redoing it, shortening its capabilities ...
- Do you also think that this is a mistake?
- This is a very big mistake. They say that the element base seems to be outdated. But if there is some other element base on new types of aircraft, why they do not have such capabilities as the MiG-31? Yes, if you restore the MiG-31MD, it is the best thing to destroy low-orbital space weapons, it would be a great power for the commander of the aerospace defense.
Those who inform our top management on the MiG-31MD aircraft do not have a complete picture of this aircraft.
I flew more experienced Mig-31 together with our famous tester Alexander Vasilyevich Fedotov. By the way, when the question of creating a Sparky for the MiG-31 came up, Fedotov and I in the military-industrial complex proved that we could not do it, but improve the periscope and use it. Thereby billions of rubles were saved.
- Nikolai Ivanovich, what are you talking about, your experience and your colleagues, honored military pilots, are in demand? Do they listen to you up there?
- No, experience is not claimed. However, some influence, perhaps, have. For example, the designer and member of our club came to me — an honored pilot — and they say: our president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, says that aviation needs to be developed to such a state that it can fly to every locality and provide people with mail, vehicles help in agriculture. And the designer says to me: I designed a new aircraft of this type, similar to An-2, but with much higher data - in 3-4 times better both in speed and in range and in cheapness, but nowhere can we make way for it . A useful conversation was on other new types of aircraft. We brought our point of view to management. And it is very correct that the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force VN Bondarev gave the command to retrain five pilot inspectors, who would be in parallel with the testers familiar with the features of the new generation of aircraft.
- Nikolai Ivanovich, here we have an article from the newspaper “Tomorrow”, where military expert Sergey Anuchin says that the US missile defense, in fact, is not counter, but a real shock. Do you agree?
- Completely. Under the guise of US missile defense, they created shock forces that literally in 6-8 minutes, if they are deployed where they are scheduled, they will already have an impact on our facilities.
- That is, it will, in fact, be a pistol attached to the temple?
- Well, maybe so ... But our task is not only diplomatically, but also to really counter this threat with our effective means. This, I note, is not only my opinion, it is also the opinion of the top leadership of our country. In all large forums, the head of our state speaks about this.
- Experts say that over the past decade the situation has changed, there has been a qualitative breakthrough in rocket technology. Do you agree with this?
- I agree. Not only in America, but we also have qualitatively new, more efficient samples. This, of course, must be considered.
- Seven years ago, you said that it would not be enough for us not to have 100 fighter regiments in air defense, as before, but much less, but armed with airplanes with more powerful combat characteristics. Do you think so now?
- Yes. We do not need such a significant quantitative force, as in my time of command of the country's air defense aviation. Technique improved. I repeat once again, if we upgrade the MiG-31 and create new aircraft of the fifth generation, then these forces will play a very large role in protecting our sky.
- You said last time that when you visited the Alexander Sandrovsky Order of the Alexander Nevsky Guards in the Sandomierz Region of the Aviation Fighter Regiment named after Alexander Pokryshkin, you saw the glorified regiment in such a deplorable state that you were simply shocked ... They said that you wrote letters to the Minister of Defense, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy , received answers from the chief of the General Staff, from the commander of the Baltic Air Force fleet, certain measures were taken, the situation in the regiment improved.
- So it was. But over the years of recent reforms in the Armed Forces, as we know, the air regiments were transformed into air bases. I have not been to Kaliningrad since 2005. What is the condition there today, I do not know.
“But part of the name Pokryshkin no longer exists ...”
- Not. There was such a rumor that it seems to be, but no longer the name of Pokryshkin, but the name of Marshal Borzov, in his time the commander of the Navy aviation.
By the way, they called me recently and were told that the name of Pokryshkin was assigned to the 62 th Fighter Regiment on the Black Sea, which I commanded from 1958 to 1963 year, and I am invited to a presentation on the assignment of the name of Pokryshkin to this regiment, which has now been turned into an airbase.
- But is it in the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
- That is, Ukraine assigned its part the name of Pokryshkin, and we liquidated ... Is this normal?
- No, this is not normal. However, I note that the name A.I. Pokryshkin was assigned to the Rzhev air defense brigade, where for several post-war years Aleksandr Ivanovich commanded the fighter air corps. It pleases, And it saddens me that the four-ton monument created from bronze to Marshal A.I. Pokryshkinu is now standing on the sidewalk in Saransk, the question of installing it on Pokryshkin Street in Moscow will not be solved at all.
- You have talked about the Yeisk Naval Flight School, is it now in what condition? And in general, where do fighter pilots train here today?
- Prepare only in Krasnodar. Ask - is one center enough for the whole of Russia? Of course not...
In Yeisk now the center of combat use and retraining of flight personnel of naval aviation. Here is the center of combat control of navigators. But I was even more confirmed in the opinion that, if they had reconstructed the Yeisk school, it would have been very useful in the aerospace defense. The personnel trained here would ensure the combat readiness of aerospace defense aviation.
- Seven years ago, you spoke of a clearly inadequate raid by Russian fighter pilots. And everyone who is familiar with aviation knows that the more the pilot raids, the higher his level. Now what is the situation in this area?
- Naturally, for a fighter pilot a raid, especially with combat use, is his bread and air. Now the attitude to the flight has changed for the better. Our club supervises the regiment, more precisely, the Hotilovo airbase. So, my ward, a good guy, a graduate of 2010, Senior Lieutenant Alexander Malevin, is already flying the MiG-31 day and night, and recently started refueling the aircraft in the air - this is the hardest type of combat training.
- What is his flying time per year?
- At the end of the year he has a raid within 100 hours.
- This is normal?
- This is normal. Good.
- And how much in the US Air Force has a fighter pilot a year?
“I don’t know exactly, but much more.”
What else is important? To fly is good, but the question is what kind of flights does the pilot make? Here, Malevin, as I said, is beginning to master the refueling in the air, which means that he is already a combat-ready pilot, he can already at the farthest turn, which only an airplane can do, intercept and destroy the enemy. That is the essence.
The fighter just took off and he should already be ready for battle. That's what a fighter is. Even from a moral point of view, a pilot, a real pilot, having mastered all kinds of combat training and having achieved high results in his training as a fighter, is cleared of his human defects, such as conceit or maybe a lie. He becomes a pure soul.
- Is this your observation?
- I know for sure, I myself was an instructor pilot. I'm talking about real pilots. Especially now, when flying at supersonic speeds.
- Can you say - seven years ago and now, is your mood better or worse?
- I have a twofold mood. Of course. the fact that recently began to give more pilots fly, it is good. Raised wages, staged housing more or less. On the other hand, aviation is still very small and, again, it somehow exists for the purposes of the ground forces, under their command, this worries me very much. Why? Yes, because, I repeat, the main force now, in my opinion and in the opinion of our large team of honored military pilots, test pilots and navigators, the main force should be aerospace defense.
“So you will listen to you, Nikolai Ivanovich, and dark thoughts appear ...”
- Do not be dark thoughts. We have to be optimistic, I do not accept decadent moods. History shows - Russia is invincible, and, of course, it will once again be a great aerospace power, occupying one of the leading places in the world.
Containment exists, parity of strategic nuclear forces is preserved, and the Americans understand this. Yes, our souls are disturbed by certain problems; they, of course, must be corrected.
We need to think about the future. I want to report that for five years we, our Club, have been seeking the conversion of the 1 cadet corps from a combined-arms to cadet corps of an aerospace orientation. First Deputy Minister of Education Igor Sergeyevich Pavlov helped us. Starting next year, they will receive boys and girls, those who dream of becoming a pilot, an astronaut, a designer ...
- Well, and the last question, Nikolai Ivanovich. How do you think this year was the century of the great ace, Marshal of Aviation Alexander Ivanovich Pokryshkin?
- Passed with dignity. I am very pleased and grateful, first of all, to the chairman of the organizing committee, Colonel-General Sergey Alexandrovich Mayev, who heads our defense society - DOSAAF Russia, and his first deputy Viktor Nikolaevich Chernov. I think that all the events took place at the highest level. V.V. Putin flew to Novosibirsk, the birthplace of A.I. Pokryshkina, where the celebrations were held on a special scale. The head of state came to express respect and show the youth that the only Hero in the years of the Great Patriotic War three times deserved the attention that the president himself personally participated in these events.
Interview conducted by Alexey Timofeev