CONCERN OVER the state of combat readiness and morale of the Russian army's aviation corps has been made public in a letter sent by senior officers to Gennady Seleznev, chairman of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.

The letter says that the bulk of the helicopter fleet is obsolete and that more than 40% of army helicopters are grounded because of lack of spares. In addition, insufficient money is being made available, to update the fleet - seven Mil Mi-24 helicopters were acquired in 1995 and two Kamov Ka-50s are to be received this year.

The officers say that pilots are logging only 20-30h flying annually because of the shortage of fuel, and that about half of the 4,000 officers and warrant officers have no permanent housing.

Source: Flight International