Lipetsk air base – Russian Top Gun fighter flight school


Lipetsk Air Base is an air base in Lipetsk area, Russia located 12 km northwest of Lipetsk. It is the combat training center of Russian Air Force, analogous to the U.S. Air Force’s Nellis Air Force Base. The base is made up of two medium-sized airfields joined together.


Fokker D.XIII line up at Lipetsk air base

In 1925, the Soviet government allowed Germany to open an air combat school at Lipetsk. That permitted Germany to evade treaty restrictions on the development of military aviation, while the Soviet Air Forces received technical advice and access to test results. By 1933, the Soviets concluded that the arrangement was not worthwhile, and the new German government agreed (for different reasons). The school was closed.


From January 1934  became operational flight-tactical Graduate School of the VVS (Air Force).After WW2 started jets era, adding new regiment, making command staff for long-range missions. During that period,, built two airfields.

4th Air Force combat center was formed in Tambov April 19th, 1953, and in 1954 was transferred to Voronezh, and finally in 1960 – in Lipetsk. Later was converted into a 4th Combat and Conversion Training Center of the Air Force.

During the Soviet period, Training center trained more than 45.000 officers and various specialists. In Lipetsk air base were trained pilots on new types of aircrafts and 11 Soviet space program cosmonauts-pilots. As a symbol of the glorious history of aviation in Lipetsk, in August 1969 in Aviators area was built monument with MiG-19.

In 1992, the pilots of the Center made the first tactical aircraft flight to the United States in the Su-27, in 1995 — 36 had a mock fight with the pilots of South Africa and all won.

After the collapse of the USSR military-industrial complex was degraded, the budget of the armed forces has significantly reduced and, as a consequence, for the Lipetsk Air Base fell on hard times. Than since 2003 began a change for the better: to increase the limit of fuel, began to strengthen and finally military flight school could live again.

In July 2003, the 300th anniversary of the city of Lipetsk, there was hour and a half airshow. This event was made because of a visit delegation of French military pilots, headed by General Jean Romuald Robert. The delegation arrived in two military transport aircraft C-130, three fighters “Mirage” and attack aircraft F-200.

Pilots involved in the aerospace aviation center salons “MAKS-2007”, “MAKS-2009” and “MAKS-2011”, where combat aircraft Su-27 and Su-30 demonstrated maneuverable dogfight and group aerobatics.


Units in Lipetsk air base:

– 968th IISAP Sevastopol Composite Training and Research Aviation Regiment, Lipetsk Air Base, fighter jets MiG-29, Su-27, Su-27M, Su-30, bombers Su-24M, Su-24M2, Su-34, reconnaissance plane Su-24MP, jammer Su-24MP, strike-fighter Su-25, Su-25T, Su-25SM

– 4020th – Base for Reserve Aircraft


In 2008. year, in 968 IISAP are 4 squadrons: 1st fighters squadron (Su-27 Flanker, Su-27UB two seat Flanker, Su-30, Su-27SM); 2nd fighters squadron (MiG-29 Fulcrum); 3rd bomber squadron (Su-24M Fencer); 4th assault squadron (Su-25 frogfoot)

During 2007. the Center received new multi-role fighter-bombers Su-34 Fullbacks and upgraded Sukhoi Su-24M2 Fencers


10_bigCurrently, the Center is the main base for the study of combat capabilities of the MiG-29, MiG-31, Su-24, Su-25, Su-27, Su-30, Su-34, Tu-22M3, Tu-95 and their modifications as well as the Mi-24, Mi-28MN, Ka-50 and Ka-52, followed by introduction of the practice of the Air Force (IAF) developments obtained in the course of flight experiments.



Since the establishment of the Center is mastered over 40 major types of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, has trained more than 60 thousand officers from various specialties, retrained for new aviation equipment 11 cosmonauts of the USSR, were serving 32 of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.

The france-russia-warship-deal-under-spotlight-after-nato-reports-moscows-increased-air-activity“Russian Falcons” aerobatic team was established in 2006 at the Lipetsk Air Base and are the Russian Air Force aerobatic display team flying with specially-painted MiG-29s and Su-27s, and now Su-30SM.  The “Russian Falcons” is the team’s unofficial name since it does yet have official status as a unit.



1024px-Su-25UB,_Lipetsk_Air_Base_(1)The 4th Center of Combat Application and Conversion of Frontline Aviation, Russia’s Top Gun school since around the 1960s, is the most well known unit on the base. Its chief, Col. Kharchevski, became famous after air combat exercises in the USA and has become the personal pilot of President Putin.



Lipetsk air base: