The founding day of Russian Army Aviation (Aviatsiya Sukhoputnykh Voysk – ASV) is considered to be October 28, 1948, when the first aviation squadron equipped with helicopters was formed in Serpukhov, Moscow Region. It marked the beginning of army aviation as a separate branch of the air forces, that usually is comprised of helicopters and light support fixed-wing aircraft. For more than a half a century of its history, army aviation and its crews have visited all the “hot spots” around Russia and places far beyond the country’s borders. Helicopter aviation was at first called auxiliary as its mission was to transport goods, fire fighting, reconnaissance, and communications. However, as the technology evolved, helicopters have turned into formidable weapon systems in their own right.
The Russian Army Aviation (ASV) was reformed in the 1960s with the primary missions to offer direct fire support to ground troops on the battlefield, and transport troops, supplies, equipment and ammunition over short distances. Helicopter units are typically called upon to perform combat, transport, reconnaissance, target designation and electronic warfare missions. The Russian Ground Force passed over the control over the Army Aviation to the Russian Air Force in 2003. A program to modernize existing Mi-24P helicopters and equip them with night capability began in 2003. A limited modernization of Mi-8MTV transport helicopters (including to the night version Mi-8MTKO) has begun, and procurement of this family of vehicles is to be renewed. The state armaments program plans the delivery of 156 new and 372 modernized helicopters for army aviation. Given the current fleet of up to 500 helicopters (about 240 combat Mi-24, a few combat Ka-50 and Mi-28N, 25 transport Mi-26, with Mi-8 transport helicopters accounting for the rest), this would preserve the current make-up of Army Aviation.
Nowadays, the Russian Army Aviation (ASV) has a range of the best helicopters in the world, such as the Ka-52 Alligator, Mi-28N Night Hunter, Mi-35M, Mi-26, Mi-8 and its modern modifications, as well as training ‘Ansat-U’ and Ka-226 helicopters. This year, more than 100 air tactical exercises involving army aviation of various levels took place. The total flying time of the army aviation by the end of the year has amounted more than 40,000 hours, including more than 8,000 hours at night. Over 4,000 flights were carried out with practical bombing, missile launches, and aircraft gun firing. The combat training plan has been fully accomplished. Comparing to the previous training year, the combat training intensity has increased on average by 10%.