A visit to a plane dismantling base
Smuravyevo is one of the military air bases in the Pskov region where the 722th bomber wing of the 6th Air Force and Air Defense army used to be stationed.
The wing was disbanded in December, 2009. Only a military post and a hardware maintenance station where Su-24 frontline bombers are taken apart are still there. The military airfield is not guarded, but its condition is satisfactory.
1 The entry into the air base was conducted in an appropriate manner, out in the open, right through the main gate.
2. The maintenance station isn’t guarded either, and the passage from the airfield is unobstructed. There are gutted aluminum boxes there that can’t really be called aircraft anymore nothing but empty shells is left of them. It’s the middle of the night, it’s raining and it’s only possible to take photos with long exposure.
3. Mig-27 fighter bombers underwent troop trials in the 722th wing.
4. In total, the wing received 43 Mig-27 planes.
6. Starting from 1990, the Mig-27 bombers were gradually replaced by the Su-24.
The Su-24 all-weather frontline bomber featuring a variable-sweep wing was designed for carrying out missile and bombing attacks. The aircraft was designed at the Sukhoi development design office in the late 1960s.
The first flight was conducted on 17th January, 1970, and mass production started in December, 1971. The aircraft proved very successful, and its manufacturing continued until 1993.
7. In total, about 1200 aircraft of this type in were made with different specifications, with more than 770 being the Su-24M and its derivatives. It was manufactured at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association.
8. The maintenance station was used for the routine servicing of the airplanes.
9. Presently, they are sawn apart at the station.
10. The process is moving along quite fast. Here are some satellite images from 2010 up to 2012.
11. Several modifications were created based on this type of aircraft, including a reconnaissance plane and a jammer. The Su-24M, MR, MP and M2 variations are equipped with a flight refueling system.
12. This plane was well-known in the West and often called “a bomb-loaded truck”, its payload is 7500 kg (7,5 metric tons).
13. These specifications of the airplane allowed to use it in nearly every military conflict. Its combat use reached the peak during the two Chechen wars. They were also used during the war in South Ossetia in 2008.
14. Nevertheless, Su-24 is considered to be the most risky in terms of accidents among all the Russian military aircraft.
15. Nowadays this fighter can still be found in service with armed forces of different countries.
16. Maybe it would be better to bring these planes into the cities and organise patriotic education centers around them instead of dismantling them all while feeding dumb TV shows to the population.
19. The airbase is now disbanded, the military town is dying out, and only the old black and white photos serve as reminders of the military power that was once present here.
Images by Meteo, reproduced with permission