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:


Su-37 Flanker F – Terminator

Multi-Role Export Flanker

The designation Su-37 was first used to market a truly multi-role version of the Su-35 (Su-27M) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) air force. The Su-37MR (MR for multi-role) that was offered would have French-built instrumentation equipment and a number of changes in the avionics. Sukhoi Design Bureau and KnAAPO export company selected the series produced T10M-11 (Su-27M pre-production test aircraft) for conversion, which had already been testing the multi-mode N011M phased array radar. However the UAE preferred the Mirage 2000-9 and it was decided to use the T10M-11 as flying test-bed for the engine thrust vector control (TVC) system. The Su-37 designation was retained.

Su-37 Flanker F - Terminator

Su-37 Flanker F – Terminator

Introducing Thrust Vector Control

The TVC system enables the aircraft to direct its thrust produced by the AL-31F engines in a different angle than the flight path on the vertical axis. In high angles of attack, normally an aircraft would stall and the pilot would lose control because of the disrupted airflow over the control surfaces. Also at very low air speeds, the control surfaces no longer function effectively. With TVC the aircraft can still be controlled under these circumstances by using the engines thrust instead of the airflow.

The new Su-37 made its first flight fitted with the TVC engines on 2 April 1996 by Sukhoi’s test pilot Yevgeny Frolov. The aircraft was nicknamed Terminator.


The Su-37’s TVC system is integrated into the aircraft’s fly-by-wire system, giving the aircraft controllability at beyond-critical angles of attack and near-zero speeds. The Su-37 was able of performing aerobatics unmatched by any contemporary fighter. Examples include vertical somersault while retaining the flight path (Frolov’s chakra), forced tight radius turns, controlled spin. This super-maneuverability would give the Su-37 an edge in dogfights with other aircraft. It also stunned the public at the Farnborough airshow in September 1996, Le Bourget in June 1997 and MAKS in August of 1997.

Su-37 and F-16

Su-37 near F-16

The Su-37 engine nozzles swiveled only vertically (2D vectoring). Lyulka-Saturn further developed the vectoring nozzle which resulted in the AL-31FP thrust vector control engines capable of moving in both vertical and horizontal axes (3D vectoring). The AL-31FP engine was offered to foreign customers on more advanced developments of the Su-30MK such as the Su-30MKI of the Indian Air Force and as an option for customized versions of the earlier Su-35 ‘Super’ Flanker.

Sukhoi Su-37 multirole fighter technology demonstrator at Farnborough 1996 airshow

Sukhoi Su-37 multirole fighter technology demonstrator at Farnborough 1996 airshow

End of the Su-37?

The Su-37’s life ended when T10M-11 (serial 711) was lost in a crash on flying a ferry flight in Russia. The aircraft was not fitted with the TVC engines at the time of the crash. No other Su-27Ms have been converted to Su-37 specifications, nor has the Su-37 design entered production. The Su-37 was never an official designation recognized by the Russian Air Force.


The crash of 711 effectively means the end of the Su-37 as we have known since 1996. The possibility remains that the designation Su-37 will be re-used in the future for other Flanker derivatives. Reportedly, localized Su-35 (Su-27BM) air frames for the Russian Air Force will re-use the Su-37 designation.

Su-37 Flanker F

Su-37 Flanker F


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 21.935 m (72 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.698 m (48 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 5.932 m (21 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 62.0 m² (667 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 18,500 kg (40,790 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 35,000 kg (77,160 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-37FU after burning turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 7,600 kgf (74.5 kN, 16,750 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 145 kN (32,000 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.35
  • Range: 3,300 km (1,833 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,055 ft)
  • Maximum g-loading: +10/−3 g


  • 1 × 30 mm GSh-30 cannon with 150 rounds
  • 12 × wing and fuselage stations for up to 8,000 kg (17,636 lb) of ordnance
SU-37 blueprint

click to enlarge

VIdeo about Su-37 Terminator below:

Source: Wikipedia , Milavia