BELGRADE. Nov 4 (Interfax) – Military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces will airdrop troops and hardware of the Russian Airborne Forces in the Balkans for the first time ever, in the course of Slavic Brotherhood 2016 exercises, the Russian Defense Ministry’s information and mass communications department said on Friday.
“The operation will be difficult to accomplish, considering that the drills are taking place in a densely populated area of Central Europe, within a limited and unfamiliar drop zone. Flight crews will for the first time airdrop heavy hardware and troops of special operations units from Russia and Belarus in the Balkans,” the department said.
Ilyushin Il-76MD crews are due to maintain a close two-row formation in order to comply with flight safety requirements and to reach the drop zone on time, without leaving the Serbian airspace, it said.
“During the preparatory period, Russian and Serbian pilots trained their interaction and operative coordination on the ground and in the air, and joint flight control teams were formed. For the first time in history of Slavic Brotherhood exercises, Russian and Serbian pilots will perform their combat training missions in the joint formation and under the joint command,” the ministry said.
The first Slavic Brotherhood exercises were held last year, at a base of the Airborne Forces’ mountain formation in the Rayevsky training range near Novorossiysk. The Serbian Defense Ministry is in charge of this year’s exercises.
The international tactical exercises, Slavic Brotherhood 2016, are taking place near Belgrade on November 2-15, with the participation of armed units from Russia, Belarus and Serbia. Three Ilyushin Il-76MD planes and about 50 servicemen from military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces are taking part in the drills.