Author Archives: Jacek Siminski

Putin Denies Reactivation of the Cuban Radar Station

Vladimir Putin said that Russia will not reactivate the radar reconnaisance station in Cuba.

Last week Russian newspaper Kommersant reported the news (that has been circulating for at least a couple of years) that there were plans to reopen Russia’s eavesdropping station in Cuba, which has not been used since 2001.

However, reports about the reactivation of the facility were denied by Putin who spoke to ITAR-TASS news agency and said that “In agreement with our friends, this center was closed, and we have no plans to resume its work,” as Russia would “meet its defense needs without this component.”

The base was used from 1967 until 2001.  During the last decade of the 20th century, significant staff reductions took place.

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Russian Radars back to Cuba

Putin is about to reactivate a Russian radar reconnaissance center in Cuba.

The radar station is to use the existing infrastructure located just 100 miles off the coast of Florida used by the Russians until Jan. 27, 2002 to intercept the data from the U.S. satellites and U.S. Navy communication systems.

Raul Castro, who in 1993 was Cuban Minister of Defense, said that about 75% of the intelligence gathered by the Russians in overall, was collected by means of Cuban radars.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of the century, the infrastructure, which employed circa 1,000 people, was too expensive to maintain: 580 million USD (20 billion Rubles), including 200 million USD paid just for the presence of the Russians.

The situation and aims of the Russians have changed significantly since then, and according to the Polish defense outlet Dziennik Zbrojny, Putin is planning the reactivation of the Cuban radar installation, most probably to put some more pressure on the U.S. in the region, more than 50 years after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Havana is going to take advantage of the renewed relationship: according to some media outlets, the Cuban outstanding debt towards Russia has been reduced by 90%, which equals 32 billion USD; the remaining 10% are to be paid by 6-month installments.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Russia’s fifth generation PAK-FA prototype catches fire on landing

Russian T-50 fighter plane damaged on the ground.

On Jun. 10, Russia’s 5th generation stealth fighter plane Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA – Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii—Future Tactical Air System) which since February has been a subject of state test programme in Zhukovski, caught fire on landing.

The landing was succesful and Sergey Bogdan, the Russian test pilot who flew the T-50 during the test flight, was unharmed. Sukhoi officials claim that the fire was local, and was quickly extinguished. The fighter is to be repaired.

Two remaining examples of T-50 are undergoing ground tests and static tests. According to the official stance of the Sukhoi company, the incident will not have an impact on the test program, and the proceedings are to be continued in accordance with the planned schedule.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image credit: United Aircraft


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Poland opens a new highway strip in southeast part of country

There are several highway strips in Poland. A new one, not far from Ukraine has just been established.

According to TVN24, one of the most influential Polish TV stations, a part of A4 Highway received a status of a highway strip. Highway Strips in Poland are called Drogowy Odcinek Lotniskowy (DOL) that more or less means Airstrip Section of the Road.

The strip is located in Southeast part of Poland, between Tarnów and Dębica. Since there are no active runways and airbases in the area, the decision to make a new strip available to warplanes may be related to the events that take part beyond the border with Ukraine.

The DOL is 3 km long and 36 m wide. From the strategic point of view it may be a useful point for dislocation of aircraft. It may also be used as an emergency strip, capable to accomodate Polish Air Force or allied fighter planes, transport aircraft or even a civilian airliner, should the need arise.

The section of the highway looks usual, but there is no ordinary infrastructure installed in the area, such as bridges, and the road barriers can be removed quickly. Parking space for the aircraft are placed at both ends of the improvised runway. What is more, the central reservation has been removed and replaced with tarmac.

If a landing is to happen, the junction points in Tarnów and Żyraków are closed for traffic.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Top: Photo file of a C-130 landing on a highway in Germany (Wikimedia)


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Don’t worry, the Poles have recovered their drone lost during artillery drills

The Polish soldiers have recovered the lost drone.

The Flyeye mini-UAV(unmanned aerial vehicle) lost on May 7, near Torun, was eventually found about 25 km southwest of the artillery range where it was operating, in quite good condition.

Even though the drone manufacturer WB Electronics had stopped the recovery operation, the soldiers still had an area to go through today. Exactly where they found it on May 10 at around 15.00 LT.

The cause for the incident is clear, according to one of the officers working at the General Commands of the Armed Forces, Lt. Col Artur Goławski: it was a technical problem that made the drone unresponsive to the operator’s inputs.

The detailed report is to be prepared later, but it has already emerged that the instruction manual of the drone is to be modified with measures that would help avoiding similar events in the future.

WB Electronics stopped the search operation due to the financial reasons – the costs were higher than the Flyeye’s price tag (25,000 Euro). It was stressed by the manufacturer, that the drone contained no sensitive information.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image Credit: WB Electronics

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