Naval Aviation Department was established on Apr 4, 1932 in Far East Maritime Force HQ. Fist combat experience of Pacific Fleet (PF) Naval Aviation was in Aug 1938 during fierce battles near Lake Hasan.
PF aviators also participated in war on militaristic Japan in 1945. They scuppered over 30 transport ships, two destroyers, and four tankers. For courage, valor and combat merits, eight PF aviation units were awarded Guard title, two divisions and three regiments obtained honorable names. Fifteen aviators became Heroes of the Soviet Union.
In the post-war period, PF aviation achieved jet-propulsion, all-weather, and missile-carrying capabilities.
Present-day PF Naval Aviation operates fighter, antisubmarine, search-and-rescue, and transport aircraft based on air stations in Kamchatka, Primorsky Krai, and Khabarovsk region. Informally, it is subdivided into ship- and coast-based components. Antisubmarine aviation (Tu-142, Il-38) is used for search, detection, trailing, and destruction of submarines. Fighter aviation (MiG-31) controls vast airspace and gains air superiority in theaters of naval operations. Search-and-rescue aviation (An-12, An-26, helicopters Ka-27PS) rescues and renders assistance to crews of distressed vessels and aircraft. Military transport aviation (Tu-134, Il-18, An-12, An-26, helicopters Mi-8) carries out parachute drops of marine troops, transports personnel and military cargoes. Ship-based helicopters (Ka-27PL) are used for targeting during ASW operations, repelling attacks of low-altitude airplanes and antiship missiles.
Presently, naval aviators perform long-range patrol flights. Besides, two helicopter crews are presently on anti-piracy mission overseas.
Defending Russia’s eastern frontiers, the fleet’s pilots provide ice reconnaissance for Russian civil vessels in the Arctic if needed. None of search-and-rescue operations at sea is conducted without PF pilots.
PF Naval Aviation is headed by Pilot 1-st Class Colonel Petr Kiselev.
Naval Today Staff , April 05, 2012; Image: vostokmedia