The Russian Pacific Fleet conducted an anti-submarine warfare exercise on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East and in the Arctic Ocean involving five Ilyushin Il-38/l-38N maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircrafts. The aircrafts took part in the exercise, which involved tracking submarines in the Arctic Ocean. It is unclear what type of submarine participated in the drill. In past exercises, the Russian Navy used Type 877 Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSK) as stand-ins for enemy subs.
The Russian Pacific Fleet has also been conducting anti-submarine warfare exercises at shorter intervals over the past few years as the fleet is rebuilding its capability in that area. Next to Ilyushin Il-38 and upgraded Ilyushin Il-38N planes, Russian naval aviation in the Far East deploys the Tupolev Tu-142MZ maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft for anti-submarine warfare missions. The Russian military has been stepping up its aerial presence near the Japanese islands in recent years.
The Ilyushin Il-38 “Dolphin” (NATO reporting name: May) is a maritime patrol aircraft and anti-submarine warfare aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It was a development of the Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop transport. The Il-38 is an adaptation of the four-engined turboprop Ilyushin Il-18 for use as a maritime patrol aircraft for the Soviet Navy. It met a requirement to counter American ballistic missile submarines. The fuselage, wing, tail unit and engine nacelles were the same as the Il-18 and it had the same powerplant and flight deck.
The Ilyushin l-38N “Sea Dragon” is an improved variant sometimes referred to as Il-38SD for Sea Dragon, which is a new search and tracking system. The Russian Navy version is equipped with the Novella P-38 system. Novella P-38 is able to find air targets at ranges of up to 90 kilometres and follow surface objects within a radius of 320 kilometres, can track 32 above- and underwater targets simultaneously. 8 aircraft have been delivered to the Russian Navy. Modernised anti-submarine planes have entered into service with Russia’s Pacific and Northern Fleets.