Russia's military transport planes fleet obsolete : Ivanov

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Moscow, Feb 27 (UNI) Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov today said the country's military transport planes fleet has become dangerously obsolete and warned there may be no military cargo planes left by 2015.

''The existing fleet of military transport planes has become, to a large extent, obsolete,'' Mr Ivanov, who is in-charge of defence production, said at a meeting of the Russian government's Military-Industrial Commission.

''Without urgent measures to extend the service life and resources of the planes, we will see more than 90 per cent of the military transport aircraft decommissioned by 2015,'' he said.

Currently, according to various sources, there are about 300 transport planes in service with the Russian Air Force, including An-12 Cub, An-72 Coaler, An-124 Condor and Il-76 Candid planes.

Most of the aircraft entered service in the 1960s and 1970s and are considered unsafe in view of the modern safety requirements.

Experts said comprehensive upgrading of the military transport planes may extend their service life till 2020-25.

Mr Ivanov's remarks over the poor state of military transport planes come a day after Russia's transport watchdog voiced concern over the country's ageing fleet of domestic passenger aircraft.

''The average age of long-distance passenger airliners continues to grow, and now stands at 20 years, while the average age of regional aircraft is close to 32 years,'' the head of the Federal Agency on Transport Supervision (Rostransnadzor) Gennady Kurzenkov said yesterday.

''Problems with the reliability of components, their high cost and an ill-organised system of replacing failed parts cause special concern,'' Mr Kurzenkov noted.

UNI XC SKB HS1736

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