Lipetsk Base Visit 2009
Photo Report
    Lipetsk Base Visit 2009

    Lipetsk Air Base

    Photographer: Frank Grealish
    Date: 4th & 6th August 2009
    Location: Lipetsk - Air Base (2 / West), Russia

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    Lipetsk Air Base (also also known as Lipetsk West) is an air base in Lipetsk Oblast, Russia 12 km northwest of Lipetsk City. It is the combat training center of Soviet Air Force, similar to the U.S. Air Force's Nellis Air Force Base. The main unit currently based at Lipetsk is 4 TsBP i PLS (4th Combat and Conversion Training Centre).

    Early History
    Military flying in Lipetsk started in 1916 with the establishment of workshops for French aircraft and in 1918 a squadron of Sikorsky Ilya Muromets Type S-23 V heavy bombers was established.

    At that time the city was much smaller than it is now and flying activity took place at what was then the outskirts of the city near the railway station. The headquarter buildings from that period still serve as the air base headquarters today although the current airfield is 12km outside the city.

    German aviation at Lipetsk
    From 1925 until 1933 the Luftwaffe, due to the Treaty of Versailles restricting the development and construction of military aircraft within Germany, operated a pilot training school at Lipetsk as well as establishing a tactics & weapon systems research centre. Once Hitler came to power in 1933 the Germans left and in January 1934 the Soviets took over the airfield.

    Present day air base
    After World War II the current air base was constructed and in 1960 the 4th Combat and Conversion Training Centre took up residence, the unit is still based there today.

    The Visit
    During our visit we got to witness at first hand some of the most potent aircraft currently operated by the Russian Air Force. The Sukhoi stable of fighters / bombers were well represented, with examples of the Su-24, Su-25, Su-27 & Su-30 all flying, as well as the ubiquitous Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-29.

    Lipetsk air base consists of 2 runways, one is used for flying while the other runway appears to be used for aircraft storage, visible in the background of some of the pictures on the right are rows and rows of stored fighter aircraft. As well as being given the chance to photograph normal flying operations we were also treated to a flying display on both days by the Russian Falcons, an Su-27 & Su-30 display team based at Lipetsk while on the second day of our visit were presented with a flypast of 10 aircraft consisting of 3 x Su-24, 2 x MiG-29 & Su-27 / Su-30 aircraft.

    And finally...
    A big thank you goes to all the Russian Air Force personnel at Lipetsk for their patience and hospitality while a special word of thanks has to go to Alex Golz for organising the visit.