MOSCOW --- The Russian Military Transport Aviation Command conducted over 280 sorties in Syria in 2015, Colonel Igor Klimov, a Russian Aerospace Force spokesman, told TASS on Monday.
"[Ilyushin] Il-76 [NATO reporting name: Candid] and [Antonov] An-124 Ruslan [Condor] aircrews have flown more than 280 sorties and hauled 13,750 tons of cargo as part of the preparation of the infrastructure of Khmeimim air base," he said, noting that the Military Transport Aviation Command became the Russian Aerospace Force’s best large unit in 2015.
According to him, the flight time of a pilot with the Military Transport Aviation Command averaged 170-plus flying hours in 2015, with that of a rookie pilot standing at 200-plus hours on average. The Military Transport Aviation Command’s total flight time exceeded 50,000 hours last year.
The branch’s flying crews participated in all surprise checks of the military districts, strategic command-post exercise Center 2015 and in all Aerospace Force drills in 2015. They also took part in the Aviadarts 2015 competition as part of the Army International Games, Klimov added.
"In addition, Russian airlifters have landed on an Arctic airfield for the first time in the branch’s history, having brought supplies to a snow-covered airfield on the island of Alexandra Land of the Franz Josef Land archipelago," the colonel said.
He added that the Military Transport Aviation Command’s Combat Training and Conversion Center had received the first advanced Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A airlifter, with more to come this year.