The fighter pilots of the Russia’s only deck-based fighter unit – Smolensk Red Banner Aviation Regiment named after Boris Safonov, based in Murmansk Region, celebrated its 40th anniversary, RIA Novosti reports with reference to the head of Northern Fleet department of the Western Military District’s press-service, Captain I rank, Vadim Serga.
"The pilots of deck-based fighters of the Northern Fleet are unique persons – we have more cosmonauts than such pilots. For acts of valor and bravery committed during assimilation of aircraft carriers and advanced aircraft six pilots have been awarded with the Gold Star medal and the title of the Hero of Russian Federation", — Serga cited the words of the Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Vladimir Korolev.
Commander-in-Chief of the naval aviation of Russian navy, Hero of Russia, Major General, Igor Kozhin, congratulated the pilots and said that “flight and maintenance personnel of the regiment will start the assimilation of the state-of-the-art deck-based MiG-29 fighters in 2014".
The governor of Murmansk Region, Marina Kovtun, awarded six pilots with the Badge of Honor “For Valorous Service in the Polar Region”.
The regiment was formed in 1973 at the Saki airfield. The unit operated Yak-38 vertical takeoff jets in those days. Four years later the regiment joined the instant readiness forces of the Northern Fleet’s air forces. The regiment has operated the following aircraft types: Yak-38, Yak-38U, MiG-21UM, MiG-21PFM, Su-25, Su-25UB, Su-25UTG and Su-33.
The pilots of Northern Fleet stood first in many ways. Their major merit is assimilation of aircraft carriers, including flagship of the Russian navy – Russian heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov – stands for Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov).