02 Januari 2016
A Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter has recently witnessed a technically and mentally demanding flight drill of the state-of-the-art Russian-made Su-30MK2 supersonic fighter jets at a regiment posted in southern Vietnam.
The Tuoi Tre reporter visited the 935 Fighter Jet Regiment in October 2015.
The regiment, operating under Division 370, which belongs to the Air Defense-Air Force, is stationed in Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai Province, some 35 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.
It is the first regiment in Vietnam that owns and operates an all Su-30MK2 fleet.
The Su-30MK2, dubbed “King Cobra,” is an improvement to the Su-30MKK, employing upgraded avionics and maritime strike capabilities.
The Su-30MKK is a modification of the Sukhoi Su-30, incorporating advanced technology from the Sukhoi Su-35 model.
The aircraft, developed by Sukhoi Company in 1997, is a heavy class, all-weather, long-range strike fighter, designed for dedicated use as a maritime strike aircraft as well as for air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
With a rated maximum takeoff weight of 85,000 lb, the Su-30MK2 has an enhanced weapon system optimized for maritime strikes, built around the N-001VEP radar, which will target the Kh-31A ramjet supersonic anti-shipping missile, and a radar seeker-equipped variant of the Kh-59, designated the Kh-59MK2, according to ausairpower.net.
More technically exacting
Night flights are among the 935 Fighter Jet Regiment’s vital tasks.
The regiment is also the Air Force-Air Defense of Vietnam’s first unit to be entrusted with the duty.
Xuan Tuyen, former regiment chief and now deputy chief of Division 370, and Colonel Phan Xuan Tinh, the regiment’s deputy chief and chief of staff, are the country’s first-ever night sea flight instructors.
Apart from a pilot’s high expertise, a successful night airborne operation also requires seamless coordination among commanders, information officers and ground technicians.
“Night flying is considerably more demanding than any daytime routine because of stress-causing elements including darkness, cloudiness and poor vision, which can make or break pilots’ performance,” Col. Tinh said.
“It’s also harder to retain control during nocturnal flights, during which pilots are prone to illusions,” he noted.
The strenuous task is thus exclusive to only the best pilots, who usually have at least 400 flying hours and have carried out 70, 80 or even 100 daytime flights, Col. Tinh added.
Along with night flights, the 935 Fighter Jet Regiment also partakes in nocturnal bomb dropping, rocket launching and live fire exercises.
These activities were part of a two-day military event organized by the Air Force-Air Defense of Vietnam in late March 2015.
This was also the first time in 30 years that the Su-30MK2 jets had joined a night bomb-dropping drill.
The practice session saw 36 pilots maneuver Su-30MK2, Su-22M4 warplanes and Mi-8 choppers.
The outstanding completion of tactical and technical tasks achieved by the 935 Fighter Jet Regiment’s Su-30MK2 pilots was indicative of the crew’s air supremacy and flawless manipulation of the multi-purpose, cutting-edge “King Cobra” jets.
On the October night flight, the last warplane landed safely at 9:10 pm.
“A night routine usually closes at 9:30 pm or a little past 10:00 pm. Otherwise, the deafening, lengthened noise would take a toll on residents in surrounding areas,” Colonel, pilot Tran Quoc Toan said.
“I really love the romantic feeling that I take off at dusk and land against the cloak of darkness, while the whole city has lit up. On good days, the night views are even more gorgeous than those by day,” Colonel Huynh Manh Thang, the regiment’s deputy chief in charge of military training, shared.
935 Fighter Jet Regiment of Division 370
Established on October 30, 1975, Division 370 is among the country’s largest.
In December 2004, its 935 Fighter Jet Regiment was armed with the state-of-the-art Su-27 and Su-30MK2 warplanes.
Six years later, the unit had more Su-30MK2 jets added to its fleet as replacements for the Su-27.
Since 2008, the regiment has made regular patrol flights to Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, the marine platform DK1, and the country’s southwestern border areas.
Its current missions are safeguarding the skyline, seas, border areas, islands, and key economic zones to the south of the country.
The regiment has made outstanding military accomplishments and won ample accolades over the past 40 years.
Its members also provided substantial assistance for Cambodia in establishing the neighboring country’s first-ever fighting air force regiment at Bien Hoa Airport.
Cambodia conferred the Angkor Medal, its highest honor, on the regiment in recognition of its effort. Since 2010, the regiment has trained almost 800 pilots and instructors from different air force units to fly Su-27 and Su-30MK2 fighter jets.
See full article TuoiTreNews